Viktoria Plzen vs. HJK Helsinki Prediction, Tips & Odds – Jul. 26, 2022 19:00 CET
After win in Helsinki, Viktoria Plzen expects to finish the job without any difficulties and advance to the third round of the Champions League qualifying.
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After three years of dominance by Slavia Prague, Viktoria Plzen won the title in Czech Republic last season. Now, next task is to make a good result in Europe, since Plzen has not played in the group stage since 2018. In 2019 and 2020, they were eliminated in the Europa League qualifying, while last year CSKA Sofia beat them in the Conference League playoffs.
For a club like Plzen, such a period without European football in September is a long time. Now, it’s almost certain that they’ll play in the group stage of one of three European competitions in the fall, but they want at least the Europa League. Between two seasons, they changed a lot of players, but there were no big transfers.
In the first game in Helsinki, Plzen did what they had to do. They won 2:1 and took a gigantic step towards qualifying for the next round. If everything goes according to plan, next rival will be Sheriff or Maribor, which means that Plzen has a good chance to play in the Champions League playoffs. A good season in Europe is also necessary in order to maintain a good coefficient, which dropped significantly after three disastrous European trips in last three seasons.
From 2009 to 2014, HJK Helsinki won six titles in Finland and they were by far the best club in that country. After that, theyy had a few weak seasons, but now they are back on top. HJK won four titles in the last five years, and they have a chance for one more. They are three points behind Kups, but there is a lot of football ahead.
In addition to good results in the domestic league, last season HJK managed to qualify for the group stage in European competition for the second time in club’s history. On the way to the Conference League group stage, they eliminated Buducnost and Neftchi. They collected six points there thanks to two wins against Alashkert. HJK also started this European campaign well. They knocked out RFS in the first round of the Champions League qualifying, which means they will have a great chance to play again in the Conference League from September to December.
One of the problems for HJK this season is lack of good strikers. After 16 rounds in the Finnish league, only Bojan Radulovic scored more than two goals (5). He also was the only scorer for his team in 2:1 loss against Plzen last week.
Viktoria Plzen and HJK Helsinki only played against each other last week when it was 2:1 for the Czech club in Finland.
Filip Kasa is injured and won’t play for Plzen. Riku Riski, Roope Riski, Joona Toivio, Manuel Martic and Valtteri Moren were unavailable for HJK Helsinki in last period due to injuries.
Without five players, it is hard to expect that HJK can seriously compete in Czech Republic. Plzen is a much better team and they shouldn’t have problem winning on their home pitch. Date and Time: 26.07.2022 19:00 CET
Pick: Viktoria Plzen -1 (AH)