Kosovo v Bulgaria | Monday 25th March 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
It was only in 2010 that Kosovo played their first international game since independence from Serbia. It was only in 2016 that they became a recognised UEFA and FIFA accepted team.
A relatively small nation, few expected them to ever seriously challenge. However, they have plenty of individual talent that can stand them in good stead for years to come.
The Dardanians are housed in qualification Group A alongside England, Montenegro, Czech Republic and their opponents on Monday, Bulgaria. Gaffer Bernard Challandes will have his eyes on that second place, and given the quality of the opposition they have every right to be optimistic.
It’s going forward where Kosovo look threatening. Giant striker Adthe Nuhui leads the line and causes all sorts of problems for centre-halves with his physicality. If he doesn’t start then they have a player of a similar nature in Rizespor frontman Vedat Muriqi.
Behind them you have the likes of Swansea’s Bersant Celina, Salzburg’s Valon Berisha, Brondby’s Besar Halimi and Werder Bremen’s in-form Milot Rashica.
Rashica is a player I’ve been following closely this season. Bremen signed him from Vitesse Arnhem in January of last year and his transition into the Bundesliga has been seamless, he’s definitely improved. Direct, brave and with the ability to beat his man easily he has been a shining light for Die Werderaner this term.
The attacking midfielder has scored seven goals in 18 games in the league and Bet365 go 4/1 that he notches in this one and that looks worth a play, in my eyes.
Bulgaria aren’t in bad form – three consecutive 1-1 draws against Montenegro, Slovenia and Cyprus show you what level they’re at. Overall, they haven’t won in four and with few standout players I’d be surprised if they came here and won.
Kosovo are unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions and are fairly priced at 6/4 to win this game but given both sides are partial to a draw I’ll get the stalemate on side and back the hosts with a +0 Asian handicap at 4/5 (BetVictor).
Turkey v Moldova | Monday 25th March 2019, 17:00 | Sky Sports
Turkey won well in Albania on Friday to get their qualifying campaign off to a good start. They were reliant on their big names in Burak Yilmaz and Hakan Calanoglu getting on the scoresheet in the 2-0 victory. The Crescent Stars follow that up with a very winnable game at the Ataturk Stadium against Moldova on Monday.
The visitors were easily despatched by France on matchday one, and to be fair they’ve got no hope of having any chance in this group. Their only wins in recent times were against San Marino, not a difficult job. I expect them to probably finish bottom of the group.
Turkey are likely to be going head-to-head with Iceland for second place so they’ll definitely be up for this. They’re understandably short to win the match but I’m happy to back the hosts on the Asian Handicap line, which is set at two.
This bet would see us win if Turkey win by three or more goals, however it gives us a nice insurance blanket with money back if they only win by exactly two goals.