HJK vs Larne predictions for Wednesday’s Champions League qualifier clash in Helsinki. Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.
Match Live Wednesday, 12th July at 5:00 pm In:
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HJK Helsinki vs Larne Predictions
Experience and Tactics to Rule in the UEFA Champions League Qualifier
– Larne, despite an impressive domestic season, has only one away win in four European trips.
– HJK Helsinki have lost only two of their previous 13 home Champions League games.
The UEFA Champions League first qualifying round is all set to kick off, and HJK Helsinki are gearing up to face the Northern Irish side, Larne, at the Bolt Arena. As they embark on their quest to reach the main competition for the first time since the 1998/99 season, Helsinki stands to leverage their experience against Larne, a team making its debut in the qualifying rounds.
Last season witnessed Helsinki brilliantly maintain their Veikkausliiga title, making it their third consecutive victory. They once again topped KuPS by a single point, confirming their dominance in the Finnish league. As they secured their 32nd Finnish championship, they haven’t had a smooth journey this season, currently standing third in the league with 28 points from 16 matches.
Toni Koskela’s squad are approaching this match with a three-match winless streak, the last one being a 1-0 loss to FC Lahti. Despite their recent form, they have the second-best home record in Veikkausliiga, showcasing their dominance at the Bolt Arena, where they’ve clinched five victories, drawn twice, and lost only once.
On the other side of the pitch, Larne FC have had an inspiring rise from financial difficulties in 2017 to winning the NIFL Premiership for the first time in their history last season. Kenny Bruce’s audacious declaration of hearing the Champions League anthem play at East Antrim ground one day seems to be one step closer to becoming a reality.
Led by Tiernan Lynch, the Northern Irish side proved their strength by amassing 83 points from 38 matches last season, finishing six points clear of Linfield. A robust defence that conceded only 22 goals played a crucial role in their success. However, with the Premiership resuming next month, Lynch’s side may face challenges against HJK, having played only five pre-season friendlies leading up to this encounter.
A key element in this fixture is Helsinki’s top scorer, Bojan Radulovic, who has had an outstanding season, scoring ten times in 13 matches. The striker will lead the line with support from Santeri Hostikka, Kai Meriluoto, and Roope Riski.
Larne’s lineup is expected to feature Newcastle United’s under-21 prospect, Isaac Westendorf, who already marked his presence by scoring twice in the last match. Leroy Millar and Paul O’Neill, contributors to their 6-0 win over Bangor FC, will further bolster Larne’s midfield.
Helsinki’s experience and home record tilt the scales in their favour, despite their recent form. They have successfully navigated the first round of Champions League qualifying during their last six appearances. Furthermore, HJK have only lost two of their previous 13 home Champions League games.
On the other hand, Larne have limited experience in European games, with only one away win to their name from four trips. Despite Larne’s excellent away record last season, the gulf in European experience could prove to be the decisive factor.
Given the BettingTips4You Expert Rating and the statistics available, we anticipate HJK Helsinki to prevail with a 3-0 victory, capitalising on their home record and European experience. A two-goal handicap for Helsinki seems justifiable considering their historic proficiency at the Bolt Arena and their opponent’s lack of European exposure.
Despite a recent drop in form, HJK’s performance have traditionally been solid at home, making a win likely and a clean sheet achievable.
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