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Preview: Malmo vs. Vikingur Reykjavík - prediction, team news, lineups, 3 July 2022, 12:19
Malmo's quest to reach the 2022-23 Champions League group stages begins with the first leg of their Qualifying first-round battle with Vikingur Reykjavík on Tuesday evening.

The Swedish champions are well into their domestic flow, while the visitors were forced to navigate their way past FCI Levadia and Inter Club d'Escaldes to make it to the first round.

Match preview

Defending their 2021 Allsvenskan title is proving to be a tricky affair for Malmo, who will endeavour to earn a confidence-boosting result in Europe amid a sticky patch in their homeland.

Milos Milojevic's side find themselves down in fifth in the embryonic top-flight rankings after taking 21 points from 39 on offer so far, and the reigning champions were left frustrated in a 2-1 defeat to GIF Sundsvall on Friday night.

Defeat to Sundsvall ended a three-game competitive winning streak for Malmo in all tournaments, but they have never been eliminated from the first round of Champions League Qualifying and made it all the way to the group stage last year before a swift exit.

The 22-time national champions welcome Vikingur to the Eleda Stadion having scored in all of their home games so far this term, but the visitors have already experienced a taste of European football this term, and they showed their Estonian counterparts no mercy.

The Icelandic powerhouses are partaking in Champions League Qualifying for the first time in their history and were forced to navigate the preliminary route, which began with a 6-1 thumping of Levadia before meeting fellow semi-final victors Inter Club d'Escaldes.

Arnar Gunnlaugsson's side would need just the one goal in front of a 925-strong crowd, as Kristall Mani Ingason made the net ripple with 68 minutes on the clock to send his side through, and the wins have been coming on a weekly basis for the visitors.

Vikingur were crowned Icelandic champions for the first time in 30 years in 2021 - winning their sixth title overall - but they are already nine points adrift of runaway leaders Breidablik in the 2022 standings.

However, the title holders head into the first leg having won each of their last eight matches in all competitions during a phenomenal green streak - seven of which have come away from home - and they have also kept clean sheets in each of their last three.

Vikingur managed to make it to the first round of the 1992-93 Champions League before defeat to CSKA Moscow, and a stint in the Europa Conference League qualifiers will await should Gunnlaugsson fail to inspire his side to a memorable result versus Malmo.

Malmo form (all competitions):

Vikingur Reykjavík Champions League form:

Vikingur Reykjavík form (all competitions):

Team News

Malmo boss Milovejic was dealt a bitter injury blow on Friday as attacker Soren Rieks came off in the first half of the defeat with Sundsvall, and it is unclear whether the 35-year-old will be available for the first leg.

Captain Anders Christiansen was fit enough to play 54 minutes last time out after coming back from a groin problem, while Adi Nalic and Oscar Lewicki are both on the sidelines.

Striker Isaac Kiese Thelin is also battling a fever and is a doubt for the contest, which could see Patriot Sejdiu come in for the afflicted Rieks on the left-hand side of the attack, unless Malik Abubakari leads the line with Veljko Birmancevic switching to a wide role.

As for Vikingur, American defender Kyle McLagan had to be withdrawn in the first half of their most recent league fixture - a 3-0 win versus KR - with a suspected broken bone in his shoulder and will certainly sit this one out.

Gunnlaugsson could therefore call upon 20-year-old Karl Gunnarsson to fill the void in defence, and striker Arnor Borg Gudjohnsen is still recovering from ankle surgery, allowing Ignason the opportunity to replicate his heroics from the preliminary stage.

Malmo possible starting lineup:

Dahlin; Larsson, Nielsen, Chalus, Knudsen; Christiansen, Rakip, Pena; Berget, Abubakari, Birmancevic

Vikingur Reykjavík possible starting lineup:

T. Ingason; Atlason, Gunnarsson, Ekroth, Sigurdsson; Punyed, Magnusson; Agnarsson, Ingason, Andrason; Hansen

We say: Malmo 3-1 Vikingur Reykjavík

Vikingur have done all they can by posting victory after victory in the lead-up to this game, but the greater European pedigree of Malmo will surely become apparent on their own turf.

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