IT’S difficult what to make of Aberdeen in Europe this season.
Feeble against Fola Esch, vibrant against Ventspils – and at least they’re still alive unlike Hearts and Hibs.
Now comes the toughest test for Derek McInnes’s men with a meeting against a Maribor side who love playing Scottish teams.
The Slovenians have beaten Rangers, Celtic and Hibs in recent seasons but are easier opponents than Kairat Almaty and Real Sociedad who have beaten the Dons in the past two seasons.
Scottish football is so poorly regarded it’s difficult to back the Dons to qualify but a win at Pittodrie will give them every chance and they are favourites at 23-20 with boylesports. To qualify the Scots are 10-11.
Aberdeen need to produce the sort of displays that accounted for Gronigen and Rijeka in recent seasons and do their best not to concede.
The Dons conceded in both legs against Fola Esch but kept clean sheets twice against a better Ventspils side so hopefully McInnes’s men are on a learning curve.
Aberdeen 1-0 has a chance at 13-2 with 888sport and if they achieve it have a chance to progress. But with Maribor’s record against Scots it will be a brave man who backs it.
Adam Rooney or Niall McGinn have been the star turns and to score first so look at them when prices are revealed.
Elsewhere tonight West Ham launch their campaign away to Domzale. They are no bigger than 4-7 in Slovenia but last season they started slowly against Birkirkara and it could be the same again.
Euro 2016 star Dimitri Payet is missing along with James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna following their action in France while Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini are injured. But Slaven Bilic could field his three summer signings – midfielder Havard Nordtveit and wingers Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore.
Hibs’ conquerors Brondby could struggle at Hertha Berlin and I’m on the Germans at 1-2 with William Hill. Brondby’s only goal in 210 minutes against the Championship outfit came after 16 seconds of the first leg and they eventually won on penalties after a 1-0 home defeat.
With Hertha’s Olympic Stadium unavailable they will play in the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark, the venue for last season’s Women’s Champions League final, and game is an 18,454 sell-out.
It’s Hertha’s first Euro outing for six year and Vedad Ibisevic comes up against Alexander Zorniger who showed him the door at Stuttgart before moving to Brondby.
If you don’t mind backing sides still to start their season consider Italian debutants Sassuolo who are 6-4 with Ladbrokes at Lucerne.
Bets to Consider
(13-10, William Hill)
Hertha Berlin/ Aberdeen not to lose
(1-1, William Hill)