Sheriff Tiraspol and Viktoria Plzen will both be looking to inch a step closer to the Champions League group stages on Tuesday, in the first leg of their third qualifying round at the Zimbru Stadium.
The hosts saw off Maribor to progress to this stage, while Viktoria Plzen ran out 7-1 aggregate winners over Finland side HJK Helsinki.
Sheriff Tiraspol only needed one goal to get the job done against Maribor in the second leg after a goalless draw away from home.
Substitute Momo Yansane broke the deadlock in the 88th minute, as the Moldovan champions, who also defeated Zrinjski 1-0 in the first qualifying round after drawing the first leg away from home, kept up their stellar streak of defensive resilience to progress.
They have now gone four Champions League matches without conceding a goal this season, but their defence was breached on the opening matchday in the Moldovan Super Liga on Saturday, being forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Zimbru away from home.
Stjepan Tomas’s side could not demonstrate a sense of ruthlessness in their clash with Maribor, but there was no hint of complacency when Viktoria Plzen played host to HJK, as the Czech outfit hit the Finnish champions for five to progress with ease.
Plzen already boasted a 2-1 lead from the first leg and scored three of their five goals in the return leg during the opening 45 minutes, with Jan Sykora netting a brace while Lukas Hejda and Ludek Pernica also scored.
Michal Bilek’s side have three Champions League group-stage appearances to their name but were unable to even make the Europa Conference League proper in 2021-22, and they are therefore in no mood to see their European journey come to another early end here, having also opened their league campaign with a draw at the weekend.
Sheriff Tiraspol vs Viktoria Plzen head to head
The two teams have not previously met on any occasions and this will be their first meeting in the first leg of their Champions League third round qualifying tie.
Sheriff Tiraspol latest home form
Sheriff Tiraspol have recently been on a good run of form at home, having won each of their five most recent matches. They managed to defeat Maribor 1-0 in their last home game in the Champions League. In their last five matches, they have scored 10 goals and kept clean sheets.
Sheriff 1-0 Petrocub 08/04/22
Sheriff 4-0 Petrocub 12/04/22
Sheriff 3-0 Floresti 21/04/22
Sheriff 1-0 Zrinjski 12/07/22
Sheriff 1-0 Maribor 26/07/22
Sheriff Tiraspol latest away form
Sheriff Tiraspol have recently been on a good run of form on the road, having been unbeaten in their 11 most recent matches. They drew 1-1 with Zimbru in their last away game in the Super Liga. In their last five mathes, they have scored four goals and conceded just once.
Sfintul Gheorghe 0-2 Sheriff 14/05/22
Sfintul Gheorghe 0-1 Sheriff 21/05/22
Zrinjski 0-0 Sheriff 06/07/22
Maribor 0-0 Sheriff 20/07/22
Zimbru 1-1 Sheriff 30/07/22
Viktoria Plzen latest home form
Viktoria Plzen have recently been on a relatively good run of form at home, having lost just one of their five most recent matches. They defeated HJK Helsinki 5-0 in their last home game in the Champions League. In their last five matches, they have scored 12 goals and conceded four.
Viktoria Plzen 3-1 Slovan Bratislava 28/06/22
Viktoria Plzen 3-0 Taborsko 01/07/22
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Botosani 05/07/22
Viktoria Plzen 1-3 Sint-Truiden 08/07/22
Viktoria Plzen 5-0 HJK 26/07/22
Viktoria Plzen latest away form
Viktoria Plzen have recently been on a good run of form on the road, and have been unbeaten in their five most recent matches. They drew 2-2 with Teplice in their last away game in the Czech Liga. In their last five matches, they have scored seven goals and conceded four.
Slavia Prague 1-1 Viktoria Plzen 01/05/22
Hradec Kralove 0-2 Viktoria Plzen 11/05/22
Besiktas 0-0 Viktoria Plzen 12/07/22
HJK 1-2 Viktoria Plzen 20/07/22
Teplice 2-2 Viktoria Plzen 30/07/22
Sheriff Tiraspol news
Sheriff Tiraspol midfielder Steve Ambri was withdrawn at the interval against Zimbru at the weekend, while Iyayi Atiemwen remains absent due to a knock.
Rasheed Akanbi should therefore earn a start in the final third of the pitch, and Yansane will certainly have to displace Kay Tejan at the tip of attack.
Viktoria Plzen news
Viktoria Plzen’s Petr Pejsa is still recovering from a long-term knee injury and will not be available, while Belik should consider Jan Kliment for a starting role on Tuesday.
Captain Lukas Hejda was sent off in the last minutes against Teplice, but the centre-back will be fine to line up in the Champions League.
Prediction and Odds
Sheriff Tiraspol may not have been impressive on the attacking front so far, but their steadfast defending is sure to serve them well against Viktoria Plzen.
Both teams may be carrying a bit of fatigue following their return to league action at the weekend, so we expect the sides to settle for a draw.
Odds: 1 2.28 X 2.05 2 2.20
Sheriff 0-0 Viktoria Plzen
Sheriff 1-1 Viktoria Plzen
Sheriff 2-2 Viktoria Plzen
Sheriff 0-1 Viktoria Plzen
Sheriff 1-2 Viktoria Plzen