Sweden’s top flight leage, the Allsvenskan, is already well under way due to their harsh climate over the winter periods. European competition finds itself into IFK Goteborg’s schedule after eighteen domestic league fixtures, so they are already well into the rhythm of competitive football. Goteborg currently sit 4th place in the Allsvenskan, just one point behind 3rd place AIK, and are in reasonable form with two wins, one draw, and one defeat from their last four. Goteborg have started from the bottom in this competition, beating Llandudno, Piast Gliwice, and HJK over the first three qualifying rounds to end up here in the playoffs.
Azerbaijani side Qarabag won the Azerbaijan Premier League title for a third consecutive season earlier this year. Their domestic dominance has seen them become regulars in European competition, and their 2014/2015 Europa League playoff round win against Dutch side FC Twente makes them only the second Azerbaijani team to ever advance to the group stage of a European competition. Qarabag have the chance to make the same progress once again here, with their disappointing knockout from the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round just a few weeks ago certainly still fresh in their mind.
IFK Goteborg are the favourites for the bookies here, though 1/1 for a Goteborg win seems relatively short considering the comparable squad strength. Admittedly, travelling to fixtures in foreign countries takes a strain on the away side but even so Qarabag are well experienced with the process. Qarabag were playing Champions League group stage football last season, something IFK Goteborg were not competing in, and they managed to score goals away from home against the likes of Tottenham and Monaco.
With both sides being equally matched and capable of goals, we feel that both teams to score at 1/1 and a 1-1 draw at 5/1 are both decent bets for this Europa League playoff first leg.
Head To Head
This fixture represents the first meeting between the two sides.
Two of IFK Goteborg's three Europa League home matches so far had over 2.5 goals scored. Qarabag have lost four of their last six Europa League matches (W1 D1 L4). Goteborg have won four of their last six Europa League matches (W4 D1 L1).
IFK Goteborg have no injuries or suspensions coming into this match. Their only signing of the summer was left-back Scott Hamieson from Australian side Western Sydney Wanderers who is yet to make an appearance.
Qarabag also have no injuries or suspensions coming into this match but have made a few more signings than the Swedish side. Centre forward Dino Ndlovu, left winger Vugar Nadyrov and right-back Arif Dashdemirov should all be decent additions.
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