It would be fair to say that the draw for the first round of qualifying for the Champions League 2018/19 has not been kind to Cork City, who must take on the talented Legia Warsaw for a place in the second round.
The second leg will be played on Tuesday July 17 at Legia's Stadium.
Legia have a habit of knocking Irish opponents out of this competition, having done away with St Patricks’ Athletic and Dundalk in 2014 and 2016 respectively. Cork will be hoping lightning doesn’t strike thrice in the next few weeks.
One advantage that the Irishman have is that their domestic league is well underway, meaning that their players are into their stride and fully match fit. The Polish champions, meanwhile, are currently enjoying some downtime in their off-season.
However, as if to emphasize the gulf in quality between the two sides, Legia were represented by two players in Poland’s World Cup squad: Michal Pazdan and Artur Jedrzejczk, while Krzysztof Maczynski and Sebastian Szymanski have represented the national team in the past year.
But Irish teams are able to conjure up a raucous atmosphere in their home matches, and so we must not discount the hosts here in our first leg Cork City vs Legia Warsaw predictions.
1. Cork City vs Legia Warsaw Betting Odds
The Cork City vs Legia Warsaw betting odds have been released for the second leg on July 17, and the bookies have made Legia their 1.2 favourites.
The Irish outfit can be backed to win the game at 11, with the draw available at 6.
2. Cork City vs Legia Warsaw Predictions
The good news for the underdogs is that at least they head into the match in good form. They have won seven of their last games in the League of Ireland, although a 1-2 defeat to Dundalk last time out in a top-of-the-table clash may have dampened spirits somewhat. But of course they lost in a home match against Legia 1-0 and now their chances of winning became less.
Most of this Cork City squad will be making their Champions League debuts – their last qualification campaign in the tournament came back in 2006, but they do have European experience having played in last season’s Europa League qualifiers.
There they defeated FC Levadia Talinn 6-2 on aggregate, including a 4-2 win at the Turner’s Cross Stadium, before going down 0-2 to AEK Larnaca in the second.
The Poles are rather more familiar with the Champions League, having qualified for the competition proper in 2015/16; highlights of that campaign include scoring seven goals past Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in just two matches.
This Legia squad is packed with experience, and over the course of two legs that will surely prove telling. Adam Hlousek was playing for Stuttgart prior to moving to Poland, while Domagoj Antolic and Miroslav Radovic have European experience from Dinamo Zagreb and Partizan Belgrade respectively. Arsenal fans will recognise the skilful Eduardo in attack, too.
After winning first leg 1-0 Legia is now a favourite to win on the home ground. We predict that they may win with a bigger margin, so we think that they may win 2-0.
3. Cork City vs Legia Warsaw Tips
That is all for our Cork City vs Legia Warsaw betting tips. Polish team are the favourites here but it is just the beginning of the season, so no one really knows what is the potential of each team.
Cork City and Legia Warsaw meet in the Champions League first round qualifiers; can the Irish outfit build an advantage to qualify to the next round?
Also, don't forget to check out our Celtic vs Alashkert betting tips - other Champions League qualifying match.