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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Fenerbahce can prove problematic for Benfica in qualifiers

Celtic to face Malmo or Vidi if they knock out AEK Athens

SL Benfica head coach Rui Vitoria
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Champions League third qualifying round
From 3pm Tuesday

Benfica are a short-priced favourite to win the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce but, following the Portuguese side's woeful European campaign last term, backing the Turks to pick up at least a draw could be a value bet.

The hosts last won a match in continental competition in February 2017 after losing all six of their group games in last season’s Champions League, notching just a single goal.

Benfica look a weakened side since then with Rui Vitoria facing a rebuilding job following the losses of several key players this summer including youngsters Joao Carvalho, Bryan Cristante and Andre Horta.

Fenerbahce have not made the Champions League group stage since 2008 but have progressed to the knockout phase of Europe’s subsidiary competition in two of the last three campaigns. They are yet to lose any key players in this transfer window and look a more settled group than their Portuguese counterparts.

Dynamo Kiev have been mainstays in Europe, qualifying for at least the group stage of a continental competition every season since 2005-06, and they should have no issue beating Slavia Prague.

The Czechs lost their Champions League playoff 2-0 on aggregate to Apoel last term before failing to get out of their Europa League group and they last made the group stage of Europe’s elite competition a decade ago.

In the Champions League playoff draw Scottish champions Celtic will face either Swedish side Malmo or Hungarian outfit MOL Vidi should they win their third-qualifying round tie against AEK Athens.

Fenerbahce or draw double chance
1pt 6-4 bet365, Betfair, Betway
Dynamo Kiev 
2pts 2-1 bet365, BetBright, Betway

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The Portuguese outfit last won a match in continental competition in February 2017
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