Our prediction for this Europa League match:
A spot in the Europa League final qualifying round will be at stake when Helsinki and Qarabag face each other at Bolt Arena on Thursday afternoon. HJK are eager to overcome a one-goal deficit in front of home fans, but they face a difficult task in the reverse fixture. Forward Anthony Olusanya is pushing for a start after scoring as a substitute in the first leg.
The Azeri, on the other hand, are brimming with confidence following a 3-0 win over Turan. Qarabag, though, are likely to adopt a cautious approach in the second leg, which is probably the main reason why we are going to bet on draw. Brazil forward Juninho is widely expected to return to Qarabag’s starting XI after finding the net in each of the previous two games in all competitions. Gurban Gurbanov is likely to stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Highlighted Player (Maksim Medvedev):
Maksim Medvedev is an Azerbaijan international who plays for Qarabag as a right-back. Born in Baku, back then Soviet Union, on September 29, 1989, Medvedev is a first-team regular at the Azerbaijan national football team.
He played an important role in the national team during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, but he scored his first international goal in a 1-0 win over Norway on October 8, 2016. Speaking of his club career, Maksim Medvedev is a product of the Qarabag football academy, and he continued playing for the Azeri giants at senior level. His main position is right-back, but he is used as both right midfielder and centre-back as well.
Medvedev made his debut in the Champions League group stages in a 6-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on September 12, 2017. The 175-cm tall footballer wears the No. 5 jersey at Qarabag, and his preferred foot is right.
Highlighted Team (Qarabag):
Over the years Qarabag have established themselves as one of the best teams in Azerbaijan. The club was founded in 1951 and they were playing under the name of Mehsul back then. Qarabag won their first trophy in the national championship in 1993, beating Khazar Sumgayit in the title game.
In the 2015/2016 season they won their fourth domestic trophy, with the team finishing the season 22 points clear of second-placed Zira. Qarabag participated in the 2016/2017 Champions League qualifiers, but they were more than unfortunate to suffer a loss to Viktoria Plzen in the two-legged tie. The Azerbaijan outfit were beaten by the Czechs on away goal rule and, as a result, they made it to the Europa League playoffs.
Thanks to a win over Goteborg in the double-header Qarabag made it to the knockout stages of the competition. The Horsemen play their home games at Azersun Arena and their home colours are black. Qarabag play their away games in white kits.