Midtjylland vs Esbjerg
Midtjylland had a really difficult game last Tuesday afternoon when they had to travel to Kazakhstan and meet FC Astana in the second qualifying round for the Champions League. They have suffered narrow 2:1 defeat which will make their path to the group stage bit more difficult than maybe what they have expected.
The home side appeared bit stronger in the first halftime and took the lead in 31st minute via Kleinheisler, while the Danish side looked more threatening in second. They even had more of the ball possession and somehow deservedly reached the equalizing goal in 51st minute via Wikheim. However, hosts looked like a side with more energy towards the end and got the victory thanks to the second goal from Kleinheisler in the fourth minute of additional time.
No doubt that very difficult job expected them next Wednesday and that the side is a bit distracted with their Champions League duties at the moment in comparison to the domestic league. After two rounds in the Danish Superliga, they have only one point earned as the side firstly took a point at home against Aarhus in a goalless game, while they suffered defeat in the second leg. They visited Aalborg and suffered 2:1 loss even though they were the first one to take the lead.
Onuachu brought them into the lead in 42nd minute, while the players of Midtjylland failed to show their presence and dominance in the attack in the second part. Players of Aalborg were with the far better fighting spirit in second and deservedly reached the three pointer via goals from Thellufsen in 52nd and Pohli in the 86th minute.
The home side is set to miss defender Kristian Riis and midfielder Rilwan Hassan both without performance so far. Also forward Artem Dovbyk (2/0) all due to injuries.
Esbjerg also didn't impress so far in the season with only a point taken in first two rounds. In the season opener, they had a 1:1 draw away from home against Nordsjaelland. Should be said that the team appeared in quite a defensive mode and looked for a point only which they got in the end.
Second round game at home against Vendsyssel saw them losing the match with a 2:3 result, even though they were quite a favorite on the paper before the game has started. They paid the price of entering the match too slowly, especially in the first halftime when they were down in the scoreline with two goals difference (thanks to goals from Jensen and Czajkowski).
They looked much better in the second part, even dominant in comparison to the opponent as they reduced the deficit via Petre in the 47th minute, but Brandao re-installed two goals lead in 70th minute. All they could do was to reduce again, via Petre in the 82nd minute. Overall, we can't say that the visitors didn't deserve what they got, but the match could have ended way differently on some other day.
Guests will miss midfielders Rodolph Austin and Klaus Moesgaard with no performances so far both, but also forward Emmanuel Essigba (2/0).
Midtjylland is a favorite here, mostly thanks to their individual superiority. This bet is not against the home team, but I simply believe that the value stands with the visitors. I can't see home side prevailing here with ease. They have a very difficult game in the next days, have traveled a lot and an easy victory here shouldn't be so probably. Esbjerg definitely has what it takes to make a surprise here, or if nothing else, to walk away with a narrow defeat.
Midtjylland vs Esbjerg prediction
Esbjerg +1 Asian handicap @ 1.92 with Pinnacle