PAOK vs Basel
PAOK had one of their best seasons in recent years, as the time finished the season at the second position but also managed to take the Cup by winning over AEK Athens in the middle of May. A lot of controversies were around their domestic league, as they finished six points behind AEK Athens and with seven more than third-placed Olympiakos, the side that was dominating the country for too long.
They have ended the season in quite a style - with five consecutive victories. Cup finals was a bit of revenge for them and their players, as the side looked far stronger than the club which ended up winning the title. As for the preparation period, a lot was tested and rotated inside the eleven players that played. Most recent results were the victory over FCSB 2:1, draw against Gent 1:1. Also the loss to Antwerp 3:1 and finally, a 1:2 victory over Grafschap a week ago in the last friendly they had.
Winger Leo Jaba was signed from Akhmat Grozny, while central defender Evgen Khacheridi should also be important signing coming from Dynamo Kiev. Few more players are brought back from loan deals and are interesting starting eleven material.
Left-back Dorian Leveque is injured, but anyway, he never played for PAOK except for just some minutes.
Regarding domestic league and domestic duties, Basel had pretty difficult and disappointing season. They have finished second at the table with fifteen points less than champions from Young Boys. Their fans were used to see them dominating the league, while they stood without chances in the title race a long time ago prior to season's finale this time.
As for the domestic Cup, they suffered exclusion to Young Boys in the semi-finals. Some serious joy came for their fans in the Champions League, as the side ended up second in the group stage behind Manchester United and in front of CSKA Moscow and Benfica. They were excluded by far more superior Mancheter City in last sixteen phase with a 5:2 aggregate defeat.
Things didn't go their way in a best possible manner as for the friendlies since the side lost to Feyenoord, Aarau, and Wolves in last three friendly matches conceding eleven goals in these three games. Their league has started this weekend and the club suffered another defeat - against St Gallen at home with a 1:2 result.
They were huge favorites before the game and except ball possession, the side didn't look that dominant nor superior. Guests have taken the lead in the 56th minute via Itten and even though the hosts leveled up ten minutes later via an own goal, they couldn't revert the scoreline completely. They looked very little in the defense and were extra prone to mistakes. Finally got punished in the fourth minute of added time via Aratore.
A lot was changed in the roster this Summer since no one was satisfied with how the season goes. It's probably one of the reasons why the club is suffering for now. Few players left the club including important winger Mohamed Elyounoussi, goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik and right defender Michael Lang. Right defender Silvan Widmer came from Udinese, striker Dimitri Oberlin fro Salzburg. Forward Aldo Kalulu was signed from Lyon, while the side improved the roster with few more less known players taken mostly from domestic clubs.
Substitute goalkeeper Signori Antonio is injured, as well as central defenders Eray Cumart and Eder Balanta, defensive midfielders Taulant Xhaka and Zdravko Kuzmanovic. Also, offensive midfielder Samuele Campo is injured and all of them shouldn't perform here.
Even though it's early in the season, there's no doubt that the things aren't perfect in Basel. PAOK's season is yet to start and this could be one of their disadvantages in this match. However, the team hasn't changed much and it should be the weapon after one of the best seasons in recent years. With the help of their fans, players of PAOK could get a crucial advantage here. Their chances surely are bigger than what the odds suggest at least.
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PAOK vs Basel prediction
PAOK Wins @ 2.00 with Pinnacle