Maribor head over to Sweden this Wednesday looking to finish the job they started and hold onto the first-leg win they secured against AIK in the Second Round of the Champions League Qualifiers. AIK return to Sweden with a one-goal deficit to overcome after Maribo picked up a 2-1 win in front of their home fans. Fortunately for AIK, they managed to bag an away goal, leaving this tie very much in the balance heading into the second leg.
Before suffering their narrow 2-1 defeat to Maribor, AIK had been in great form which had seen them secure four wins from five games. AIK faced Avan Academy in the previous round of Champions League Qualifiers and over the two legs managed to scrape a 4-3 victory, overcoming a 2-1 defeat, with a 3-1 win of their own. Following this fixture, AIK faced Helsingborg who they made light work of, as they eased to a 2-0 win with little trouble. Since losing to Maribor, AIK faced Sirius in the league and managed to bounce back to winning ways after securing a 2-0 victory.
Maribor will be hoping they can continue to make progress in the Champions League, with their domestic season currently not going to plan with them placed down in ninth after three games. After three games, Maribor have secured just two points from two draws and a defeat. Before facing AIK, Maribo went up against Valur, who put up little resistance over the two legs as they suffered a 5-0 defeat on aggregate. Following this one sided fixture, Maribor were held to a 1-1 draw by Rudar Velenje, which was a good result considering Maribor had just ten men. The Slovenian side faced Olimpija NK in their latest fixture and picked up another single point from a disappointing 0-0 draw.
Despite their failure during the first leg, we are expecting AIK to lineup in a 3-5-2 formation once again, with Heradi Rashidi and Anton Saletros out on the wings. Veteran striker Henok Goitom is expected to keep his spot up front, with the forward being his side’s main supply of goals in the Champions League. Goitom currently sits on three goals in three games and scored his side’s only goal against Maribor.
Maribor manager Darko Milanič has a fully fit squad available to select his starting XI from for this second fixture, which is vital to their chances of hanging onto their 2-1 lead. The travelling side will most likely stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation that worked so well for them last time out. Rok Kronaveter could be the key to their success on Wednesday, with the midfielder proving indispensable in this competition. Kronaveter has bagged three goals in his last three games, including the important goal he bagged in the first leg.
With the home advantage on their side, AIK arrive as the clear favourites and you can find odds for them to win priced at around 1.90, while their opponents sit at 4.00. Despite being a goal behind, we fancy AIK to overcome the deficit and qualify for the following round of the Champions League Qualifiers. We saw the previous fixture end 2-1 and with both teams desperate to take the win, we are expecting there to be goals from either side.