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Preview: Malmo vs. FK Zalgiris - prediction, team news, lineups, 25 July 2022, 14:20
Swedish giants Malmo will be looking to overturn a one-goal deficit when they welcome FK Zalgiris to the Eleda Stadion for the second leg of their Champions League qualifier on Wednesday.

The Lithuanian visitors currently lead 1-0 from the first leg, with the winners of this tie facing either Linfield or Bodo/Glimt in the third qualifying round.

Match preview

After securing a thrilling 6-5 aggregate victory over Vikingur in the previous round, Malmo were condemned to a slender defeat in the first leg against Zalgiris last week, with Fabien Ourega scoring the only goal of the game four minutes after half time.

Despite defeat, the Blue Ones can take inspiration from their 2014-15 and 2015-16 exploits which saw them lose the first leg of their qualifiers against Celtic and Red Bull Salzburg respectively before turning each tie on its head in the reverse fixture to progress.

Milos Milojevic's side have since responded from last week's defeat with a 3-1 Allsvenskan win over Sirius on Saturday, with Moustafa Zeidan scoring in between two strikes from Patriot Sejdiu.

The 22-time Swedish top-flight champions, who are currently three points behind the summit at the halfway stage, return to Champions League action in midweek as they aim to reach the group stage for the second successive season.

Zalgiris, meanwhile, are looking to qualify for the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history, after securing their ninth Lithuanian top-flight title last season.

Vladimir Cheburin will have been delighted with his side's resilient performance in the first leg, and another is required on Wednesday if they wish to progress to the next round.

Zalgiris have enjoyed an impressive run of form since the turn of the year, losing only two of their last 25 matches across all competitions, winning 16 and drawing the remaining seven.

The Green Whites also boast a strong away record as they are unbeaten in each of their last 16 matches on the road, with their last defeat dating back to September last year.

Spirits are high in the Zalgiris camp and they will be confident of booking their place in the next round. Defeat to Malmo on aggregate, however, would see them drop into the Europa League third qualifying round.

Malmo Champions League form:

Malmo form (all competitions):

FK Zalgiris Champions League form:

FK Zalgiris form (all competitions):

Team News

Malmo midfielder Soren Rieks is doubtful with a knock, but otherwise Milojevic has a fully fit squad to choose from for the second leg.

New recruits Zeidan and Mahame Siby could feature again after playing in the first leg, with the latter set to start in centre-midfield alongside Anders Christiansen and Sergio Pena.

Veljko Birmancevic, who was the club's top scorer last season with 12 strikes, netted two goals in the previous round against Vikingur earlier this month and he is expected to start on the left flank, joining Kiese Thelin and Jo Inge Berget in attack.

As for Zalgiris, Cheburin is unlikely to make too many changes, if any, to the starting lineup which played in the first leg.

A back four of Joel Bopesu, Mario Pavelic, Nemanja Ljubisavljevic and Petar Mamic is set to remain intact, shielding goalkeeper Edvinas Gertmonas.

Renan Oliveira, who has scored eight league goals in 13 matches since joining the club on loan in March, is expected to lead the line with Mathias Oyewusi, while Ourega and Oliver Buff are set to provide support on the flanks.

Malmo possible starting lineup:

Dahlin; Beijmo, Hadzikadunic, Moisander, Olsson; Christiansen, Siby, Pena; Berget Thelin, Birmancevic

FK Zalgiris possible starting lineup:

Gertmonas; Bopesu, Pavelic, Ljubisavljevic, Mamic; Buff, Milickovic, Gorobsov, Ourega; Oyewusi, Oliveira

We say: Malmo 2-0 FK Zalgiris (Malmo to win 2-1 on aggregate)

Malmo suffered a surprise defeat against Zalgiris last week, with the first-leg loss the only game in their last 10 across all competitions in which they have failed to score.

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