Montenegro’s Buducnost Podgorica and Iceland’s Breidablik will face off in the 2023-24 Champions League preliminary playoff final on Friday evening.
Both sides claimed convincing victories in the semi-finals on Tuesday, but only one team can make it to the first qualifying round.
Buducnost booked their place in the preliminary playoff final with a 3-0 win over Andorra’s Atletic Club d’Escaldes on Tuesday, with Balsa Sekulic bagging a brace.
The Blue-Whites find themselves in contention for a Champions League berth after winning last season’s Montenegrin First League title in dramatic fashion, as they edged out second-placed Sutjeska thanks to their superior head-to-head record.
Buducnost finished the previous campaign in strong form, winning three of their final four league games to clinch the title, meaning that Miodrag Dzudovic’s men have won four of their previous five clashes across all competitions.
It is also worth pointing out that Buducnost have lost just two of their last 18 matches across all competitions, picking up 10 wins for good measure, so the Podgorica outfit will be confident of advancing on Friday.
Breidablik, meanwhile, thrashed San Marino’s Tre Penne 7-1 to punch their ticket to the preliminary playoff final, with Hoskuldur Gunnlaugsson and Agust Hlynsson both netting doubles in Tuesday’s rout.
While Buducnost’s domestic season ended last month, Breidablik are 13 games into their domestic campaign, and the Kopavogur outfit find themselves third in the Icelandic top flight – 10 points shy of table-topping Vikingur Reykjavik.
Breidablik suffered a 5-2 thrashing at the hands of HK Kopavogur in their last league match, despite racking up 20 shots while enjoying 83% possession, with Stefan Ingi Sigurdarson’s brace proving to be nothing more than a consolation.
It is worth noting, however, that last week’s loss was their first defeat since April, as Oskar Hrafn Thorvaldsson’s men posted an 11-game unbeaten run of eight wins and three draws before falling to HK Kopavogur.
Having lost just two of their previous 16 matches across all competitions – picking up 11 wins and three draws in the process – Breidablik will fancy their chances of overcoming Buducnost.
Buducnost manager Miodrag Dzudovic opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation on Tuesday, with Petar Grbic, Vasilije Adzic and Stephano Almeida lining up behind lone striker Balsa Sekulic.
Dzudovic is expected to stick with the same attacking quartet on Friday, while Miomir Djurickovic and Marko Pavlovski will likely continue to anchor the midfield.
As for Breidablik, they look set to continue with the 4-3-3 formation that caused Tre Penne all sorts of problems on Tuesday, with Gisli Eyjolfsson, Klaemint Olsen and Viktor Einarsson operating in the forward line.
At the opposite end of the pitch, Hoskuldur Gunnlaugsson will continue at right-back after bagging a brace last time out, while Anton Ari Einarsson will continue between the sticks.
Buducnost Podgorica possible starting lineup:
Pavlicic; Ignjatovic, Dakic, Ceklic, Novovcic; Djurickovic, Pavlovski; Almeida, Adzic, Grbic; Sekulic
Breidablik possible starting lineup:
Einarsson; Gunnlaugsson, Muminovic, Stefansson, Ingvarsson; Sigurdarson, Sigurjonsson, Hlynsson; Einarsson, Olsen, Eyjolfsson