Malmo vs Vardar

The Swedes have gotten a taste of Champions League after qualifying twice in the last three seasons. Their opponents, Vardar - are yet to make their mark, but represent a tricky opponent for the Swedes. The encounter feels wide open, despite Malmo being a more familiar name in Europe. One of the charming aspects with qualifiers is that different styles are being matched up against each other. Two countries who are not familiar with each other always allow for the element of surprise. This is of course something that they are extra cautious of.

The Malmo scouting of Vardar was summarized during the Macedonians training camp in Austria ahead of this qualifiers, as their representative Jens Fjellstrom watched a couple of Vardar matches. "We respect Vardar, but if we prepare good enough, we are for sure going to pass this type of opponents. Mainly their two brazilians Juan Felipe and Jonathan Balotelli are dangerous." The scandinavians have done their homework and identified threats, but still express self belief. They will have to do it without their captain and striker, as Markus Rosenberg (13/4) is out due to injury. Although, during the recent days, Rosenberg have admitted that he feels "ready", and Malmo are likely to let him play should they end up in a situation of chasing.

Also the key piece at the back Behrang Safari is a doubt after limping off versus Hacken on Saturday (8th of July) and center back Felipe Carvalho is out long term. There are other players whose fitness is doubtful in a very tight schedule. Therefore it is nearly impossible to predict the starting line up for the Swedes, but that is normal when it comes to coach Magnus Pehrsson who likes to try different formations and tactical approaches.

Malmo have otherwise started the season with a new identity. Coach Magnus Pehrsson was appointed 7 months ago, and have tried to implement a pressing system, where they give minimal time for the opposition with the ball. Malmo have significantly improved their number of attemps per game, but what stands out is their very poor conversion rate by being ineffective. This does not help when strikers is the weakest point at the moment for the Swedish champions. The positives is that Peru international Yoshimar Yotun has come alive and become a very good point player after his position swap to midfielder.

In Sweden, they have won 10 out of 13 league matches - Up front they have physicality in Alexander Jeremejeff - even though he has gotten a lot of heat for his style of being tall, skinny and static, and not producing goals - he is difficult for the defenders. Squad wise, Malmo have depth but offensively their production is not coming from the strikers, but from midfielders at the moment. Remains to see if they can get the full machinery going in these crucial times.

At home, for Champions League qualifiers, Malmo have a 7-3-1 record, whith the only loss being against FC Thun in 2005. So in recent years, Malmo have been very strong at home. Even when reaching the group stages, they have managed to win versus Shakthar Donetsk and Olympiakos, thanks to their normally very hostile atmosphere at the stadium. It is impossible to talk about Malmo without mentioning their stadium atmosphere - which is something unique. The stadium will not be completely full for this particular match, but it will still be very different than what Vardar are used to.

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Now, let's virtually travel to Macedonia and talk about Vardar. Vardar FK is a club owned by a Russian business man, Sergey Samsonenko, who bought the football club in 2014 after being mainly active in the handball brand of Vardar. Before acquiring the club, he was already a popular man among Vardars supporters. This has created a huge gap in Macedonian football, where Vardar and Shkendija are the clubs with massive budgets, and the remaining clubs have nothing in comparison. In simplified terms, Vardar is the powerhouse and hope for Macedonian football. They have a positive trend and some solid results in Europe, after being knocked out by APOEL (1-1) and Dinamo Zagreb (3-5) on aggregate, they now fancy their chances against Malmo FF

Vardars coach, Goce Sedloski was a former player of Hajduk Split in his active days, and happened to score against Malmo in 1997. When asked about his opponents, he said: "I have beaten Malmo as a player, and now it is time to do it as a coach". Certainly, it adds spice to the game with a few quotes like that. Goce Sedloski has been in charge for two years, with a 71% win rate (domestically) and therby have a squad who are used to winning games and being offensive minded by default. The squad is a mix of talent and experience, where the experience rely on attacking midfielder Juan Felipe, and Jonathan Balotelli up front.

Defensively, 34 year old captain Boban Grncarov is leading the line, with younger talent like Besir Demiri and Darko Velkovski. Where Vardar can really hurt opponents is offensively, as Stefan Spirovski is a Macedonian international and calm with the ball. They have attacking options in Damir Kojasevic, or Tigran Berseghyan from Armenia, and not least an interesting outsider in Jaba Jigauri from Georgia - a creative player with good final touch. These are unknown players for many, but certainly have the quality to make some noise against international opponents. Vardar does not ring a bell to the general public but are coming into this qualifiers with possibly their best era in recent years. Summarized, a dangerous dark horse team.

Malmo are expecting a defensive Vardar approach, to come and play with a bus tactic, but this is the danger. Vardar is a club who are not used to losing - they are so dominant domestically that they can even become naive when playing 'better' sides. Malmo are not hitting their best form at the moment even though they keep on winning matches, they are not done so in a convincing manner - and they have conceded a goal at home in five straight matches against Swedish opposition, and currently average 1.33 conceded goals at home. That is worrying when it comes to European qualifiers, and Vardar will want to give themselves a chance when they return to Macedonia, and a realistic target is to steal a goal on the road. They have brave players who are not going to sit deep and can absolutely harm Malmo with counters. In my opinion, both teams to score offers the best value, as Malmo will need to score to give themselves a shot to qualifying, or else it can be a short European journey for the Swedes.

Bet: Both teams to score @ 2.50 with Unibet
Result: 1-1 (won)
 * Odds as of post published time and are subject to change.
+51 -18


  1. russian says:

    BTTS in home games of the Champions League at Malmö was not from 14/07/11. Maybe it’s time …

  2. Sweem says:


    That is correct, but as in my previous previews, I have highlighted the fact that I never consider past results from 6 years ago (2011 in this case) a factor. The team is new, a lot of things happen in those years. Malmo have a completely new style of play, nowadays playing with a lot of risk taking, injuries, big rotation on defense due to fitness. I take the recent/present into account.

    Life would be easy if all you needed to do was to look at old historic results and make a bet

    Best of luck

    – Sweem

  3. aron50 says:

    Sweem what country are you from?

  4. Sweem says:

    @Aron – native swedish, but living not far from the Portuguese border. Travelling often and spending time in Georgia, due to family commitments, but definately follow Allsvenskan, Superettan & Georgian football closely, week in and out. And do some part time scouting whenever time allows

  5. Tole says:

    Don’t know why you seem scared from Vardar, they are still complete shit for these kind of games. If they were competing in Sweden they would probably be just above relegation spots. I don’t expect Vardar to score here, but if it was in Macedonia then I would go for BTTS

  6. aron50 says:

    Vardar would be in top 5 teams in Sweden if they compete over there.
    SI agree with Sweem here and I guess Vardar won’t lose this game.

  7. Tole says:

    Top 5? Yeah, just don’t know in what universe

  8. Samuel says:

    Agree with Tole. Thnx die taking the time to write this tip but i think its a very risky one. Can only see a straight malmo win here

  9. Fancy1978 says:

    Vardar (+1,5)i think good bet, two years ago Malmo was better team but can’t win with poor our Lithuanian team Žalgiris 0-0 (at home)

  10. Ball says:

    I wouldnt bet much on Vardar, pretty poor team!

  11. Sweem says:

    Some key pre-match notes:

    – Stadium is sold out (impressive!) 20,500 attendance

    – Captain and vicecaptain (Rosenberg + Safari) are out. The ones with most experience in Malmo

    – Malmo striker Jeremejeff is out

    – Berget will play striker instead (first game in 1 month)

    Overall, this should increase Vardars chances to snatch a goal. Let’s see. Either way, enjoy a good game with fantastic atmosphere!

  12. 10EDD says:

    Good work Sweem

  13. fjols says:

    0-0 ht no one wants to score

  14. Dude says:

    I saw two decent chances for Skopje in first half. Cmon lets get 1-1 in 2nd.

  15. Dude says:

    just what the doctor ordered, a Skopje goal.

  16. Dude says:

    What was that? 1-1 LOL, nice job Sweem-

  17. fjols says:

    Winner winner chicken dinner nice

  18. fritz says:

    Score 1:1
    Nice prediction

  19. Horia says:

    Grande Sweem!

  20. Tony says:

    Sweem you are tooo goood! I’ve never seen a tipster better than you. Thanks a lot,I just made huge profit.

  21. Samuel says:

    Respect for sweem. We we’re wrong

  22. Dude says:

    @Ball, nice info as usual from you.

  23. Larry says:

    Now I can NEVER doubt you on Sweden game ma friend! Truly impressive

  24. Chris says:

    Love sweem, but I ddnt bet, u are too good.

  25. Sweem says:

    Disappointing from Malmo, but it was expected, they didnt respect Vardar enough. I am afraid Malmo will struggle big time in 40 degrees in Macedonia on a very poor pitch.

    Well played all, appreciate all your discussions and opinions. That is what betshoot is about


  26. Tole says:

    28-4 attempts on goal -.-

  27. Sweem says:

    @Tole — Doesnt matter, read what I wrote in the preview:

    “Malmo have significantly improved their number of attemps per game, but what stands out is their very poor conversion rate by being ineffective. This does not help when strikers is the weakest point at the moment”

    Vardar would be top 4 in Sweden, confidently.

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