Much is on the line on Thursday for FC Copenhagen and Sheriff Tiraspol when they meet in Denmark in a decisive finale to Europa League Group F action.
Telia Parken, Osterbro, Denmark 07 Dec 2017 6:00 pm (GMT)
Key Stat: Sheriff are unbeaten with one win and three draws in their last four away European matches.
Expert Verdict: Sheriff Tiraspol's above record might not look that great, but in Europe that can really get you places when you can play like that away from home. This match is hugely important for them, and they should do well. Copenhagen aren't the side they have been in the past, so the Moldovans might just sneak one out.
Stale Solbakken will be without center backs Erik Johansson and Mikael Antonsson and center midfielder Jan Gregus due to injuries.
Copenhagen have been in shocking form of late, and they have got to cut it out and very soon in order to progress in this competition. They need a win first and foremost, but they also need goals to rain down. One man that could help is winger Benjamin Verbic. The 24 year old scored against Lokomotiv last time out and is great at creating chances from the wing. He has three total goals in the competition, so he's their go-to man.
Copenhagen have four losses and a win in their last five matches:
1-3 home loss vs Nordsjaelland
5-1 home win vs Lyngby
2-1 loss at Lokomotiv Moscow (UEL)
3-0 loss at Sonderjyske
0-1 home loss vs Brondby
Defenders:Ankersen, Vavro, Luftner, Bollesen
Defensive Midfielders:Matic, Kvist
Attacking Midfielders:Holse, Zeca, Verbic
Roberto Bordin will be missing winger Zlatko Tripic due to injury.
It's been an impressive showing from Sheriff in this competition so far with a number of players chipping in to score goals and to defend well. The only man in double digits is striker Ziguy Badibanga. The Congo man has two goals for his team and will look to add more here as he seeks a possible move to a bigger club come January.
Sheriff have a loss and four wins in their last five matches:
0-1 home loss vs Speranta Nisporeni
1-0 home win vs Zlin (UEL)
0-2 win at Milsami
0-4 win at Spicul Chiscareni
1-2 win at Lokomotiv Moscow (UEL)
Defenders:Racu, Kulusic, Posmac
Midfielders:Susic, Brezovec, Anton, Kendysh, Cristiano
Forwards:Badibanga, da Silva
The sides met back toward the end of September for the very first time, and the match ended 0-0 in Moldova between them.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
FC Copenhagen are at 4/7 to win, a draw is at 11/4, and a Sheriff Tiraspol win is at 5/1.
This is one of the more open groups so far. In order to progress to the next round, Copenhagen will need to be up on their math. The Danish side need to get a victory. In most cases that will be enough, but if the other match ends in a draw, then they would not be able to go through with a one goal win unless they score four goals. This is because they are behind Lokomotiv due to their loss to them.
As for Sheriff, the Moldovans have it much more simple. They are through to the knockout rounds with a win or a draw. They could also progress if Lokomotiv lose their match. To win the group, they need to win this match because they could be jumped by Copenhagen for the group win. In order to make sure they aren't out, a one goal loss up to three (1-0, 2-1, or 3-2) would be good enough should the other match be drawn.
Copenhagen came through three rounds of UCL qualifcation before being dropped out of it. They lost once and won twice in those home matches. In the UEL, they have a win and a draw so far. Overall, they have eight wins, four draws, and three losses to date at home. Sheriff also came through UCL qualifcation, though they had two rounds. Thye lost one away match and drew the other one. They had one round of UEL qualifcation then, and they drew that away leg. Thye have four points in the group from away games. Overall, they have ten wins, four draws, and just one loss away from home. They have won seven straight away from home.
Copenhagen might have the edge here as they have been playing more regularly. Sheriff won't have played two weeks, so they might look just a little rusty.
Both teams to score is set at 23/20 via Ladbrokes.
There are a lot of things going on revolving around this match, but Copenhagen aren't in very good form at the moment and it's going to be tough for them here. Because of that, a draw looks on the cards.