Mura did well to hold on to a goalless draw in the first leg in Azerbaijan, but the Slovenian side still face a tough task in their attempt to make it to the next stage. Their opponents are a much more experienced side and they will be looking to make things right in the return leg.
Problems continue to mount
Mura have done brilliantly to achieve a 3rd-place finish last season immediately after returning to the top flight from the second division, but the team have faced plenty of problems in the off season. Important players Simon Pavel, Rajko Rep, Timotej Dodlek and Ziga Kous have all left the club, whereas few more players are set to follow. Due to the poor financial situation, the club management were unable to bring new players, meaning the team are now much weaker than last season. Despite all their problems and the fact they were largely outplayed in the first leg, Mura managed to avoid defeat in Baku, but they now face another difficult task. With more players looking to leave the sinking ship, it is highly unlikely that the hosts will be completely focused on the clash against FK Baku.
First choice keeper Ales Luka has left the club to join Paralimni, whereas Jure Travnar has also departed. Ales Majer is unavailable for this match, but Filip Drakovic and Nino Kouter return.
Second chance for FK Baku
FK Baku are one of the richest clubs in Azerbaijan and their huge budget has allowed them to attract players who already have plenty of European experience. Having signed quite a few of new players last summer, the team needed some time to gel and that is probably the reason why they failed to enter the title chase, but they did prove their potential by beating champions Neftci to win the Azeri Cup. The team looked very good in the first leg against Mura, having created a number of clear-cut chances, but they were very unfortunate not to score at least a couple of goals. Nonetheless, the most important thing is that the team look pretty good for this stage of the season and their fans have plenty of reason for optimism before the match in Slovenia. Attacking trio of Cesnauskis, Verpakovskis and Sojic seem to be in great form at the moment and they are bound to make life difficult for Mura defenders.
With no fresh injuries to report, boss Novruz Azimov is unlikely to make changes to his starting line-up.
Mura showed some potential in the first leg, but they were on the back foot for most of the game and were very lucky not to suffer a heavy defeat. FK Baku are clearly superior in terms of quality, form and experience, and they can be trusted to make things right in the return leg.
Our prediction: Away win
Odds: 1.91 (10/11)