Nõmme Kalju will be looking to bounce back from their 3-1 aggregate defeat to Lech Poznan in the Europa League as they host a struggling Tallinna Kalev side at Kadriorg Stadium.
The hosts can take plenty of positives from their European exploits, having secured a 1-0 win in the first leg, and will also be looking to take advantage of Levadia’s slip-up against Infonet on Friday.
FOCUS ON KALJU (3/10, 45 pts)
The return to Kadriorg will be a step down in prestige, after Kalju played out their 3-0 defeat in Poznan in front of a 20,000+ crowd, but home has been where the heart is for them this season.
The only real blight in their copy book was the technical defeat on Matchday 1 for fielding an ineligible player, and six wins in a row on home soil will give them confidence.
Kalju are likely to rotate their squad, with Janar Toomet set to return from injury on the right of midfield. Robert Kirss may continue in central attacking midfield, with Felipe Nunes as the lone striker.
The match against a relegation-threatened side gives Kalju the chance to rest some tired legs, and to give some of their fringe and newly-acquired players some game time.
Key man: Felipe Nunes
Igor Prins will want his attackers to fire in the absense of Neemelo and Allan. Wakui has been on fire this season, but the match against Kalev presents Felipe Nunes with the opportunity to get a few strikes under his belt.
Kalju remain without several key players, with Tarmo Neemelo out for the next two months, Tihhon Sisov and Fabio Prates at least a fortnight away from a return, and Martin Vunk may remain sidelined for this game. Allan Kimbaloula is Kalju’s long term absentee.
If Vunk returns, he is one booking away from suspension.
FOCUS ON KALEV (9/10, 12 pts)
Kalev’s recent form shows why they are where they are in the table. Four defeats from five in all competitions and seven in a row away from home don’t make for pleasant reading, and with the unexplained absences of several key players they will have their work cut out here.
Ivo-Henri Pikkor started his first game since arriving from Australia last weekend, and he may continue as the lone striker here. Nikita Koger will provide support just behind him, with Oliver Heliste and Raiko Karpov on the left and right wing respectively.
Sean Whalen may return in the centre of midfield to partner Ionel Armean, otherwise Ian-Erik Valge will continue.
Armean is one booking away from suspension, as is Lasha Omanidze, although his recent absence from the team may not render this an issue to consider.
Key man: Ionel Armean
Armean's job in the centre will be to break-up play through Kalju's central attacking midfielder, and to provide support for his full backs against Kalju's wingers. It's a thankless task, and one which he cannot do alone, but he must be at his best to contribute towards what will surely be a damage limitation exercise.
No new concerns for Kalev
Relatively similar formations should see a focus on individual battles. Kalju’s central midfielders are likely to provide more of an attacking threat than Kalev’s, so the latter’s main hopes lie with counter attacking. Kalju will dominate possession, and will mix focus between the central attacking midfielder and the wingers.
Kalev’s full backs and defensive midfielders will need to be on their toes to stop Kalju’s movement, but it’s difficult to see Kalev offering anything themselves going forward.
NÕMME KALJU VS. TALLINNA KALEV HEAD-TO-HEAD
(last 6 Premium Liiga Matches via WhoScored.com)
Kalju’s wins: 5
Kalev’s wins: 0
Goals scored by Kalju: 15
Goals scored by Kalev: 5
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Kalju's rows: Juri Jevdokimov (CF) 77 goals*
*NB: Tarmo Neemelo (CF) is Kalju's leading scorer with 160 goals, but misses out due to injury
Most prolific Premium Liiga scorer(s) in Kalev's rows: Aleksei Belov (CF) 8 goals
ODDS (the figures may be subject to variation)
More odds about this game available at
BETTING TIP (by Chris Johs)
With absolutely no value in betting solely on Kalju, the opportunity lies in the number of goals. Over 3.5 at 1.62 is a very good option, as Kalev have by the far the worst away defence in the league (41 conceded). Statistically, Kalju's home attack isn't particularly prolific, but I fancy them to come good here and put a few goals past their opponents.
Tip: Over 3.5
THE REFEREES SQUAD
(statistics courtesy of Heigo Niilop)
Kristo Tohver will take charge of the match. He has 237 Premium Liiga matches under his belt, showing 787 yellow cards and 67 reds, 28 of which were for two yellow cards.
INFO ABOUT THE GAME
The match is played at the Kadriorg Stadium and starts at 19:00 on Monday the 28th of July 2014.
The ticket costs 10€ if you buy it at the stadium, 3.5€ if you attend the event on Facebook and 2.5€ for retired people and kids (7-14 years old).
Match streamed by PM here