With the Czechs ranked 47th by FIFA and Montenegro ranked 39th, this should be a close encounter between two sides who only just scraped into the play-offs.
Although it looked for some time like Montenegro might run England close in Group G, in the end they only just held off the Swiss to claim second place. Similarly, the Czechs finished 11 points behind Spain, only securing their play-off place ahead of Scotland in the final match.
In these two-legged matches much emphasis is placed on getting a good result at home but with away goals counting double in the event of draws, scoring away from home can be crucial. Montenegro only scored seven times in total in qualifying and tailed off badly after making a good start to the campaign. They failed to score against Switzerland and England and we think they will struggle against the Czechs. The Czech Republic can be backed to keep a clean sheet at 6/5 (Ladbrokes – £50 free bets) and that looks a solid prospect.
Montenegro would probably take a draw but given that the Czechs won their last away match 4-1 and only lost 2-1 in Spain that may not be enough. If Montenegro do press for that all-important away goal then the likes of Michal Kadlec and Jaroslav Plašil could find the space to damage them and give the home side a commanding victory.
We think this will be a tactical battle and despite their lower world ranking we expect the home side to win at odds of 3/4 (Unibet – £20 free betting). Montenegro looked nervous in the key game against England, only gaining confidence after they pinched a goal. If they freeze on this occasion they will be punished so it is vital they are ready from the off.