Molde are attempting to make it to the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2000. Galatasaray will travel to Norway to take on Molde in the first leg of their play-off, and we’ve taken a look at the market to try and predict how this one will pan out…
Galatasaray will have to do without former Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, following his straight red card against NK Olimpija Ljubljana in the last round. However, his big name teammates Mauro Icardi and Dries Mertens are both fit and ready to drag the Turkish giants into the Champions League proper.
For the home side Molde, they have a fully fit squad to choose from, with former Manchester United youth player Magnus Wolff Eikrem now into his sixth year in his second spell at the club.
Mauro Icardi to score anytime at 8/5
Galatasaray pulled off a coup when they signed former Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi on a permanent deal this summer. Having scored 23 goals in 26 games on loan last term, the permanent move from PSG has seen the Turkish champions step up a level over the past 12 months. He inspired them to their first league title since 2019 and now they are looking to assert themselves in European football once again.
Icardi is lethal in front of goal and the 8/5 on offer is generous, even taking into consideration Molde’s strong home form. Defence has been Galatasaray’s strength in recent weeks, and they’ve kept five clean sheets from their last five matches in all competitions. Last season’s campaign without European football was not acceptable by their standards but now Okan Buruk, the man who won the title with Istanbul BB, has led them back to the summit.
With Dries Mertens and Icardi making up their attacking duo, you can expect them to cause chaos against Molde.
Galatasaray -1 handicap at 4/1
The home side needed extra time to get past KI Klaksvik in the last qualifying round of the Champions League, ending the team from the Faroe Islands’ dream after an epic run. Right-back Martin Linnes scored the winner in extra-time, and he spent five years at Galatasaray but has now returned to Molde and all eyes will be on him to see how he fares against his former club. The last time they played in the Champions League play-offs, the Norwegians lost on away goals to Ferencvaros in 2020-21 following a 3-3 aggregate draw.
The home side may be on an 11-match unbeaten run, but they’ve not played any side with the quality that Galatasaray possesses during that time. In fact, they’ve drawn their last two league fixtures after their continental exploits and Erling Moe is struggling to get a tune out of the team in the early stages of this campaign.
It’s certainly a tough away day for Galatasaray, but ultimately the quality of Icardi and co should shine through. Putting them with a -1 handicap gives you a price of 4/1, which seems more than favourable when comparing the two squads.
Molde vs Galatasaray Odds
Here at Betfred, the traders believe it will be a close game with Molde priced up at 13/8 to win with Galatasaray a hair shorter at 11/8 to emerge victorious. The draw back be backed at 11/5 as of the time of publication. In other headline markets, we are 8/11 for over 2.5 goals with Even money for the under. BTTS is also fancied with Yes a 8/13 shot and No 6/5.