Preview: Swift Hesperange vs. Slovan Bratislava – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s Champions League clash between Swift Hesperange and Slovan Bratislava, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Swift Hesperange and Slovan Bratislava will resume their UEFA Champions League first qualifying round battle when they meet for the second leg at Stade de Luxembourg on Wednesday evening.

The tie still hangs in the balance as these sides cancelled each other out 1-1 in the first leg, and they will now have to settle the duel with the winner moving on to the second qualifying round against the winners of match 15 between FC Urartu and Zrinjski.

Match preview

Slovan Bratislava's Jurij Medvedev celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 9, 2023© Reuters

The hosts came into these qualifiers after earning their first-ever Luxembourg National Division title last season, recording 77 points in 30 games and conceding just one league loss all season.

While their dream of reaching the Champions League group stage at the first time of asking is still alive, Pascal Carzaniga would likely be a little disappointed that his side is not carrying a lead into the match.

After Dominik Stolz stuck away a penalty to give Swift the lead in the 22nd minute, they were only able to hold on to the lead for three minutes until Slovan Bratislava equalised, and that was before a frantic end to the half that resulted in their opponents being reduced to 10 men.

Despite having a one-man advantage the entire second half, Swift were unable to make the most of it as their opponents starved them of possession and created better chances right to the final whistle.

While Stade Alphonse Theis is a few minutes away from this venue, it will serve as their home for the remainder of the competition, and Swift have an excellent record on home soil, ending last season on a four-match winning streak while they are also defending a 26-match unbeaten home run that extends all the way back to February 2022.

In the opposing dugout, while Vladimir Weiss looked noticeably frustrated by the red card decision on the stroke of halftime, he would have taken several positives from his side’s performance in the first-leg encounter.

With a man down, Slovan Bratislava were by far the more attacking side and showed very few effects of being a man light apart from the odd counterattack toward the end of the match when they were pushing for victory.

The Slovakian champions lifted their fifth straight title last season despite being pushed right to the very end by Dunajska Streda and also had a solid Europa Conference League campaign, topping Group H before narrowly losing out to Basel in the round of 16.

The visitors have become a familiar face in the Champions League qualifiers, featuring in the last four seasons of competition and 14 times in total, though they are yet to make it to the main event group stages, with their previous best coming in 2014-15 when they reached the playoffs.

Slovan Bratislava are also carrying a very good away record into this match, with just one loss in their last 14 matches on the road, and having dominated the first match with a major disadvantage; they will be expecting to put on an even better performance in this one.

Swift Hesperange Champions League form:

Slovan Bratislava Champions League form:

Slovan Bratislava form (all competitions):

Team News

Lucas Lovat in action for Slovan Bratislava on October 13, 2022© Reuters

Carzaniga will have to make do without the central midfield duo of Mohamed Morabet and Clement Couturier, as the pair have been ruled out through injury.

Stolz led the line well for the hosts; however, the departure of Rayan Philippe has left a notable gap, and the Swift boss may be tempted to hand a start to Lado Akhalaia, who recently arrived on loan from Torino.

Juraj Kucka‘s red card could mean that Kyriakos Savvidis will start in his place, while Tigran Barseghyan should also return to the starting 11 after being sacrificed in the first leg.

Adler, Martin Trnovsky and Cesar Blackman have all been ruled out for this match through injury, though the latter should be available for the next round if his side gets through.

Swift Hesperange possible starting lineup:
Dupire; Skenderovic, Prempeh, Martins, Zeghdane; Ekofo, Morren, Nouvier, Gustavo; Stolz, Akhalaia

Slovan Bratislava possible starting lineup:
Borjan; Pauschek, Kashia, Bajric, Lovat; Savvidis, Kankava, Weiss; Zmrhal, Abubakari, Barseghyan

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We say: Swift Hesperange 1-2 Slovan Bratislava

Slovan Bratislava will have a point to prove after a heated first leg, and they will likely look to put the hosts under pressure from the first whistle. Swift can be expected to create a few chances at home, but the visitors should dominate once again, and we expect them to outscore their opponents and move on to round two.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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