FC Astana vs Slavia Prague Prediction, H2H, Preview & Betting Tips
FC Astana vs Slavia Prague prediction for Thursday’s (28 September 2017) UEFA Europa League opening match at the “Astana Arena”. A long, unbeaten home streak will encourage Kazakh champions, as they look to repair the damage of a matchday one defeat when the Czech Slavia Prague arrive in Astana. Read more in our detailed match preview, predictions and free betting tips.
H2H History: FC Astana vs Slavia Prague
Both clubs are facing each other for the very first time. FC Astana have never played another Czech side and the same goes for Slavia Prague who are set for their first ever encounter with a team from Kazakhstan.
UEFA Europa League: FC Astana vs Slavia Prague 28.09.2017
Eliminated by Celtic in the UEFA Champions League playoffs, FC Astana are enjoying group stage football for a third consecutive year. Being one of the 32 UEFA Champions League group phase members in the 2015/16 season, Kazakh champions failed to qualify in following two years but yet found consolation in the UEFA Europa League in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Stanimir Stoilov has built a solid squad that aims towards fourth successive domestic league trophy, where The Blue and Yellows are second on two points behind Kairat Almaty, but they have played three games less. Moreover, Astana are keen to reach their first major European breakthrough, meaning they have a decent chance to claim one of the top two Group A positions. This goes through a positive streak from upcoming three matches and starts with a home game vs Slavia Prague, who are coming after a narrow success in opening round.
Indeed, while the Czech champion began its Europa League journey with a victory (1:0) against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Astana had a difficult challenge at the Estadio de la Cerámica in Villarreal, where “The Yellow Submarine” won 3:1, but score was a draw until the 75th minute.
Sharing the fate of their opponents, Slavia Prague have been edged out by APOEL Nicosia in the UEFA Champions League playoff round. However, that is their first group stage appearance since the 2009-10 UEFA Europa League when Slavia was in a group alongside Genoa, Lille and Valencia. This time the Czech side has a wonderful chance to repeat its accomplishment from the 2007-08 season when Slavia qualified to the UEFA Cup 1/16 finals, where they lost to Tottenham Hotspur.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Slavia Prague will fly nearly 4000 km’s to Astana in search of their first victory since 18 unsuccessful European away fixtures (8 draws, 10 losses). Last time when Slavia won abroad was 10 years ago in the Champions League qualifiers, winning 0:1 over Ajax in Amsterdam. More than 10 years after the summer of 2007 Slavia remains winless when travelling and Jaroslav Silhavy hopes to be the coach who will put an end this negative record.
For that reason Slavia Prague were very active on the transfer market as The Red and Whites have strenghtened all their lines. Ruslan Rotan, Danny, Halil Altintop, Miroslav Stoch and Tomas Necid are a few of the experienced signings but most of them are backup players and Jaroslav Silhavy often rotates the squad.
This time the 55-year-old Czech will have to refresh the squad as he can’t still rely to injured Dusan Svento, Jakub Hromada, Muris Mesanovic. Anyway, the biggest concern is related with name of midfielder Josef Husbauer, who has a fever and is expected to miss out the Europa League round in Kazakhstan. His position in midfield is expected to be taken by someone between Ruslan Rotan or Halil Altintop, while other changes compared to last weekend’s draw vs Zlin (1:1) are likely as well. Jaromir Zmrhal and Jan Sykora can eventually replace Miroslav Stoch and Mick van Buren on both flanks, Tomas Necid (who scored the winner vs Maccabi) can lead Slavia’s attack (replacing Milan Skoda), and Cameroonian Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui can start as a defensive midfielder.
On the other hand FC Astana takes on Slavia Prague in a superb form, after another domestic league win (11th in a row) – 2:0 vs Taraz on Saturday. Furthermore, Stanimir Stoilov’s men are feeling extremely well at home soil and fact they have not lost a match in 15 European home games speaks enough – 8 wins and 7 draws in that period. This includes three draws in the UEFA Champions League group stage, where Astana remained unbeaten after meeting Benfica, Atletico Madrid and Galatasaray.
Stanimir Stoilov has all key players available and as we already pointed out, he formed a solid team core in the past few seasons. The summer signing Laszlo Kleinheisler is an only absentee as he recovers from a knee injury.
FC Astana vs Slavia Prague Prediction and Betting Tips
On top of a long travel, Slavia Prague has proven to be a shaky guest not only in Europe. Actually Slavia remains without a victory away from home since the end of season 2016-17 and we highly doubt they can get it exactly in Kazakhstan.
FC Astana are really tough enemy when playing at home and we fancy odds for a home win. Nonetheless, we recommend betting on FC Astana but with the Asian Handicap 0 (Draw No Bet) for some extra insurance. It is an important game for further European aspirations of these two sides and we expect cautious football by both.
Possible Lineups of FC Astana and Slavia Prague
Venue: “Astana Arena”, Astana.
Referee: Andreas Ekberg from Sweden.
FC Astana: Nenad Eric – Dmitri Shomko, Yuri Logvinenko, Marin Anicic, Igor Shitov – Srdjan Grahovac, Ivan Maevskiy – Patrick Twumasi, Serikzhan Muzhikov, Roman Murtazayev – Junior Kabananga. (4-2-3-1)
Missing players – Laszlo Kleinheisler.
Slavia Prague: Premysl Kovar – Michal Frydrych, Simon Deli, Jakub Jugas, Eduard Sobol – Michael Ngadeu Ngadjui – Jan Sykora, Tomas Soucek, Halil Altintop, Jaromir Zmrhal – Tomas Necid. (4-1-4-1)
Missing players – Dusan Svento, Per Egil Flo, Josef Husbauer, Jakub Hromada, Muris Mesanovic. Danny is a doubt.