Lille take on the visitors Olimpija Ljubljana in the round 1 match of UEFA Conference League group stage. The match will be played on Tuesday, September 20th at Stade Pierre-Mauroy (Villeneuve d'Ascq).
Lille don't look good at the start of the season, and even in this tournament, they barely managed to beat Croatian Rijeka only in extra time. In the domestic league, they haven't been doing too well either, having already dropped points against teams like Lorient, Nice, and Rennes. It's unclear how seriously Lille will approach matches in the conference league; they might take a more relaxed stance since their qualification campaign wasn't particularly impressive, and they didn't seem highly interested. The odds for the hosts in this match (1.2) are somewhat concerning, as the Slovenian team can certainly give the French a tough challenge and potentially earn points in this encounter.
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The Slovenian team has come a long way in this European campaign, starting from the early rounds of the Champions League qualification, then playing in the Europa League and finally landing in the Conference League. While the Slovenian side may appear less experienced than Lille, they are currently in good form, while Lille hasn't been particularly impressive. Olympia are in a good mood at the moment, having defeated two direct competitors for the championship in their domestic league, Maribor and Mura. Moreover, in this group, Olympia have excellent chances to advance to the playoffs, as besides themselves and Lille, there is also Slovakian Slovan and Faroese Klaksvik. In this match, I don't see representatives from Ljubljana as massive underdogs; the encounter could be quite evenly matched.
At first glance, it may seem that everything is obvious in this match, and the hosts should win convincingly. However, in reality, it's not that straightforward. Lille, despite being a representative of a major league, is not currently playing at its best. Therefore, it might be worth considering a positive outcome for the guests. If the hosts win, it will most likely be by one or, at most, two goals. So, I would suggest considering a handicap bet of (+2) for Olympia.
Prediction for the match: Olimpija Ljubljana to win with +2.0 handicap.