Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Radnicki
Maccabi Tel Aviv didn't have an easy job in the first qualifying round, but also had no luck at the draw as they got Hungarian giants from Ferencvaros as their first opponent in Europa League. First leg has ended as a 1:1 draw in Hungary and could be said that the Israelis were lucky with an equalizer scored during the additional time in the second halftime.
However, at the same time it should be said that they were better in the first game, just the goal came quite late. As for the second leg played previous week, Maccabi looked even stronger than in the previous match and pushed the opponent to a very defensive role. Only goal was scored in 45th minute via Atar, but overall the Israelis were far more superior and simply deserved that victory completely.
Their season is long way to start, while the side had three friendlies before European duties. They drew against Arka Gdynia 1:1, lost to APOEL 2:1 and won over Drutex-Bytovia 4:1 in the last rehearsal before the Europa League. Their season is not close to it's start, but some improvement in comparison to the first leg was obvious. In case they continue improving their form, they shouldn't have huge difficulties overcoming the Serbian side in two matches.
Central defender Amador came from Huesca, while left back Saborit was signed from Bilbao. Winger Ofoedu came from Eskisehirspor. The club also has a new coach for this season signing Vladimir Ivic earlier in June (previously worked as PAOK's head coach).
Radnicki Nis had far easier opponent in the first qualifying round as they won over Maltese side Gzira in both matches. Everything was already solved in the first leg in Serbia, when the side dominated the complete match, especially as the time progressed the quality was obvious.
Defender Pankov brought them into the lead in fourteenth minute, while the Serbian side secured progress thanks to goals from Haskic (two) and Mrkic in the second halftime. Returning leg in Malta was far less interesting, with the players of Radnicki taking the lead in seventh minute via Pankov and generally, not troubling much with their opponent in quite uninteresting clash.
Their national league has started last weekend and the team didn't have difficult task as they faced up at home against newly promoted Proleter and took a three pointer in a 3:1 victory. Mrkic and Nikodijevic opened up the opponent in the first halftime, with the latter one scoring in second as well. All the visitors were able to do, was to reduce the deficit towards the end via Krstevski.
The team also had decent results in the preparation period as they won over Slovenian sides Krsko and ND Gorica, both matches 2:1. In the last friendly game they had a 1:1 draw against Russian side FK Rostov.
Radnicki ended up third last season in Serbian Super Liga and even though it could be said that they were sometimes pushed by the officials, it's bit different now. Club has really invested some money and now there's no doubt that they do belong between few top teams in the country.
They, as a club, are on the rise in last years and did really improve the team this Summer. Coach Lalatovic came who previously worked in Crvena zvezda, Cukaricki and Vojvodina. Also, defender Pankov came from Ural, striker Haskic from Ruzomberok and right back Todorovski came from Zaglebie Lubin. Also, winger Grbic came from Buducnost Podgorica (previously played at Olympiakos and Partizan too).
Maccabi Tel Aviv is huge favorite in this one and know very well that they need to exploit the home advantage in the first leg. Not sure how defensively good Radnicki is, but there's no doubt that every team that Lalatovic coached, knew very well how to play on counter attacks. Therefore, my first betting option for this one will be over goals.
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Radnicki prediction
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.85 with Bet365