It is easy to forget that Birmingham are in the Europa League this season, with things going pear-shaped for Alex McLeish’s side shortly after beating Arsenal in the Carling Cup final and ultimately getting relegated.
Therefore, while the rest of the Championship are in domestic action on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Blues fly out to Portugal in an attempt to qualify for the Europa League group stage and City could certainly do with the revenue that a run in this competition would provide.
Birmingham are 7/2 (Coral – £25 free bet) to claim victory in the first leg of this tie, although we should remember that Chris Hughton’s side were beaten at Derby in their opening game before squeaking past Coventry. The manager will be hoping that Cameron Jerome (15/2 Paddy Power) and Adam Rooney can cause some damage and nick an away goal.
Even so, Nacional will be happy that they have drawn this particular English team and Os Alvinegros finished a creditable sixth in the Primeira Liga last season, with 11/10 looking like a tasty price (Stan James – £150 free betting) about them claiming a win ahead of the second leg at St Andrews.
If you fancy Ivo Vieira’s team to outclass the Blues and lead at half-time and full-time, then 23/10 is available at William Hill and Mateus could be the player to cause damage at odds of 6/1 (bet365).