Saturday, July 13, 2024

Prediction: Virtus vs FCSB

Verdict: FCSB win &Btts

Best odds: 311/100

Bookmaker: ZetBet

UEFA Champions League returns to action with the first qualification round where many teams are keen to reach the group stage. Former Champions Cup winners Steaua Bucharest, known today as FCSB start their journey with an apparent easy contest against Virtus. The game will be played Tuesday night at the small San Marino Stadium with 6000 fans attending Virtus’s debut in the most prestigious football club competition.

Virtus

Making its debut in the Champions League, Virtus is credited with minimum chances to overcome the more experienced and valuable current Roamnia champions, FCSB. Although the San Marino side has improved in recent years, the team managed by the Italian Luigi Bizzotto is given virtually no chances by bookmakers to knock out their opponent.

Founded in 1964, the hosts needed 40 years to win their first San Marino champions title following a tight race against heavyweight La Fiorita. Although Virtus scored much less than its main title contender (10 goals less), a strong finish to their Campionato SanMarinese with seven consecutive wins was enough to clinch the title with a two-point lead over their opponent.

Virtus’s rise to glory in San Marino’s football started a year ago following an impressive run in the Coppa Titano (2023) that brought the prestigious trophy to Aquaviva. Furthermore, winning the Super Cup in the same year positioned Virtus to the highest peak of the European microstate in front of all-time title record holder La Fiorita.

Playing their last game at the end of May might be a fitness concern for Luigi Bizzotto when facing FCSB. Although Virtus had time to prepare for their Champions League debut by playing friendly games, opting out might prove costly as the Romanian Champions have built match fitness by playing three games before heading to San Marino.  

Team News

Top scorer Simone Benincasa will spearhead the attacking line attempting to find the back of the net and give his team chances for the return match. Virtus will need to be at its best defensively considering FCSB’s upfront quality, but their recent domestic campaign proves they are up to the task.

FCSB

Being the most successful football club in Romania, FCSB is keen to re-find the Champions League glory days. Despite winning many trophies domestically and in Europe, the visitors suffered a fall in recent years failing to make a mark at home or abroad. However, the Red&Blues found redemption by the end of last season when they managed to clinch the championship title after 9 years of failures.

Although last season’s contest for winning SuperLiga was expected to be tight, the Bucharest team dominated their opponents in the regular season and the championship play-offs. While the pre-season two friendly games won were a great opportunity for FCSB’s players to build match fitness, the Romania Super Cup success was this season’s perfect debut.

Playing against shock League Two side Cup winners Corvinul Hunedoara was an excellent opportunity to make the final adjustments before heading to San Marino. Although FCSB was expected to edge Corvinul, a masterclass performance saw the freshly crowned champions destroying their opponent with a 3-0 statement win.

A long search to reach the Champions League group stage, which stems back from 2014, is the ultimate goal for club owner Gigi Becali. Still, despite investing heavily in recent years to achieve his goal, selling MVP Florinel Coman before the qualification rounds, is considered a mistake by many.

While the left-winger ace had a great tournament in Germany with the national team, a substantial offer received by the club and the player was enough to sell their most valuable asset. Although the Red&Blues are expected to breeze past Virtus, the next qualification rounds against more difficult opponents could leave FCSB out of Europe again.

Team News

FCSB’s manager Elias Charalambous will be without Vlad Chiriches and Vlad Stefanescu who face a one-match suspension. Building on the Super Cup win, the visitors are expected to use the same line-up with Marius Stefanescu tipped to steal the show as he did Saturday night when he scored on his debut.

Key factors to consider

  • Virtus were crowned San Marino champions for the first time after a tough contest against La Fiorita
  • The hosts dropped a single game from their last 12
  • FCSB started their season with a convincing win in the Romanian Super Cup against Corvinul Hunedoara (3-0)
  • The visitors are eager to reach the Champions League group stages following a decade of missing out

Conclusion

Although FCSB is tipped to get a comfortable win in San Marino, Virtus is capable of scoring. While the action is expected to unfold for the most part in the hosts’ half, Luigi Bizzotto’s side can explore the counterattacking spaces.

Verdict: FCSB win &Btts

Best odds: 311/100

Bookmaker: ZetBet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stefan Budur


Former owner of Betting Mojo, experienced bettor and former punter at Betadvisor, Stefan has done it all when it comes to soccer betting. With more than 15 years of experience in the gambling industry, he gained a lot of knowledge that he'd like to share with SoccerNews.com readers so you can position yourself better every time you place a bet.

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