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Jul 5, 2022 at 7pm UK at Stadiumi i qytetit Suharekë
KF Ballkani
1 - 1
Zalgiris
Gripshi (15')
Emerllahu (44'), Jashanica (55'), Dellova (85')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Buff (25')
Kyeremeh (51'), Mikoliunas (64')

Preview: KF Ballkani vs. FK Zalgiris - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: KF Ballkani vs. FK Zalgiris - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Champions League clash between KF Ballkani and FK Zalgiris, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

KF Ballkani and FK Zalgiris will meet in the first leg of their Champions League first qualifying round contest on Tuesday evening, with both teams looking to claim an advantage.

The home side are the champions of Kosovo's top flight, while Zalgiris are the Lithuanian champions, lifting the trophy for the ninth time in their history last year.


Match preview

Ballkani are the holders of the Football Superleague of Kosovo, with the team comfortably finishing top of their domestic table last term, picking up 76 points from their 36 matches.

The title success saw them qualify for the Champions League first qualifying round for the first time, and they are now facing a two-legged affair with Zalgiris in a bid to qualify for the next round of the competition.

Ballkani have only played one friendly match this summer, recording a 2-0 victory over Shkupi in the middle of June, and they will be coming up against a team that are already deep into their domestic season, so the difference in fitness between the two players could be substantial.

Ilir Daja's side will have to draw on their impressive 2021-22 league season in order to stand a chance of progressing any further in the Champions League, and it would be some achievement if they managed to navigate their way past the nine-time Lithuanian champions.

Zalgiris won the Lithuanian league title for the ninth time last season, meaning that they were able to qualify for the first qualifying round of the Champions League.

As mentioned, the Green Whites are well into their latest domestic campaign, picking up 41 points from 18 matches to sit at the top of the division.

The visitors will enter this match off the back of four straight league victories, including a 2-1 success over Hegelmann Litauen on Friday, which will have further boosted confidence in the camp.

Vladimir Cheburin's side fell in the second qualifying round of last season's Champions League, while they ultimately lost to Bodo/Glimt in the playoff round for the Europa Conference League.

Zalgiris have never qualified for the group stage of the Champions League but have often progressed to at least the second qualifying stage, so they are expected to triumph in this contest.

KF Ballkani form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

FK Zalgiris form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W


Team News

Ballkani could line up in a 4-4-2 formation on Tuesday evening, with Albion Rrahmani and Nazmi Gripshi set to operate as the front two for the home side.

Head coach Daja does have plenty of options in the final third of the field, though, with Lucas, Ermal Krasniqi and Albin Berisha also pushing for starting roles.

There are not expected to be any surprises at the back, meanwhile, with Armend Thaci and Arber Potoku set to be included, and there should be a spot in midfield for Meriton Korenica.

As for Zalgiris, head coach Cheburin will need to assess the fitness of his players following their league victory on July 1, but a number of those that played last time out should also feature here.

Renan Oliveira was on the scoresheet on Friday before being replaced, but it was a tactical change, and the Brazilian is available to feature in the final third of the field.

Zalgiris did not suffer any fresh injury issues against Hegelmann, with midfielder Oliver Buff also fit to start despite being substituted in the second half of the contest.

KF Ballkani possible starting lineup:
Frasheri; Thaci, Potoku, Thaqi, Kapra; Dellova, Emerllahu, Korenica, Gashi; Rrahmani, Gripshi

FK Zalgiris possible starting lineup:
Gertmonas; Pavelic, Kazukolovas, Kashken, Mamic; Gorobsov, Buff, Kazlauskas; Burba, Tadic, Oliveira


We say: KF Ballkani 0-2 FK Zalgiris

Ballkani will believe that they need to pick up a strong result in the first leg to stand a chance of progressing to the second qualifying round, but we are finding it very difficult to predict anything other than an away success due to the gap in quality between the two sets of players.


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


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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