Balzan vs Slovan Bratislava
A hot match in Malta is taking place between Balzan and Slovan Bratislava. Two teams who progressed past their opponents in the first round will now battle for further progress. Both teams showed offensive football and two similar styles are coming together for an exciting double legged clash.
Martin Sevela managed AS Trencin for several seasons and significantly improved their offensive abilities. The side scored 1.93 goals per game during a 4 year period. This time, being the coach of Slovan Bratislava, Martin Sevelas philosophy remains extremely offensive. At this point, Slovan Bratislava is a goal scoring machine with 2.04 goals per game during his time in charge.
The Slovakian capital side is on a five game winning streak, with a 19-3 goal difference within the span. Their 4-3-3 formation is making use of creating many triangles, quick ball movement and being unpredictable when attacking. They began by discarding Milsami from Moldova with 9-2 on aggregate and followed up with a 1-4 victory domestically against Zlate Moravce.
Key players include the Slovenian center forward, Andraz Sporar. Left winger Moha, and right winger Aleksandar Cavric. The defensive side consists of 30 year old Bulgarian veteran, Vasil Bozhikov. Younger prospect Kenan Bajric is pairing up with his experienced tutor. Over half of the squad is made up by foreign players. Usually, the goalkeeper Sulla is the only starter from Slovakia. This just goes to show the investments that have been made into this club to take the next step. It is an ambitious club aiming for Europa League group stages. The squad is deep, so they can rotate when necessary.
Balzan are no defensive specialists and will have a tough time to cope with Slovan Bratislava's offensive abilities. They finished on second place in the Malta Premier League, three points behind Valletta. Balzan were the fourth best defensive team in Malta the past season. Unlike their opponents, Balzan is a very old team with an average age of almost 31 years in their starting eleven.
Many players have their best years behind them and have settled in Malta to enjoy the island life while playing football on a lesser level. The key man is Montenegro striker, Bojan Kaljevic who has played in Uzbekistan, Montenegro and Malta. He is tall and strong, often sided by 33 year old Alfred Effiong who is a Maltese national player. The creativity is coming from Brazilian, Kadu. He has 3 assists and 1 goal so far in Europa League.
The coach is Serbian Marko Micovic. This is his first manager job and he has done it well. Balzan has not been a typical top team in Malta, who is often dominated by Birkikara, Hibernian and Valletta. Balzan had a great season and progressed past FK Keshla from Azerbaijan. Their benefit is always the home game, as the weather in Malta is among the hottest and most humid in entire Europe. The forecast suggests 38 degrees during the day and 33 degrees at kickoff time with sunshine.
This match has the potential to be a goal galore judging by these teams philosophies clashing together. However, the weather conditions might make this encounter slower than normally expected. Slovan Bratislava will be looking to bring goals back to Slovakia, and are younger, faster, more experienced and flexible.
Slovan is a team who have invested a lot in order to be competitive. Balzan on the other side has made no major sacrifices. They are a solid Maltese team who should not be able to cope with opponents at this level. I expect a clear victory for Slovan Bratislava given the circumstances and form.
Balzan vs Slovan Bratislava prediction
Slovan Bratislava Wins @ 1.62 with Bet365