PAOK vs Qarabag by Isaiah
PAOK made a huge setback in their Europa League bid last time out, when the team suffered unexpected defeat 2:0 away from home against Qarabag. Instead of being almost sure participant of the next phase, the team is now leveled in points together with Azerii side and needs to get a victory here in order to feel safe again.
They are shared the second position together with Qarabag, having three points less than first placed Fiorentina and three points more than fourth placed Liberec, so the things are quite clear here - everything but the victory would mean even less known and certain future for them. The team comes from a hardly earned victory at home in Greek Super League last weekend 1:0 against AEK Athens and it was good to see them back to the winning ways after defeat in a derby game against Olympiakos week earlier. Doubtful is midfielder Dimitrios Pelkas (2/0), while injured remain defender Georgios Tzavellas (3/0).
Qarabag, on the other side, made a huge surprise by getting the victory over Greeks last time out in Europa League, but it must be said that they completely deserved it, reaching the three pointer with goals from Quintana and Amirguliev in the second halftime, looking like a team that always knew what they wanted to do with the ball to their feet.
Now much more difficult job is ahead of them, since the team is known to perform way better in front of own fans and in case they fail to get a point here at least, their victory in the previous round would probably be meaningless as for their chances to reach the next stage. Team does decently well in the domestic league, coming from third straight victory and are currently at second position, with two points less than leaders from Gabala. Midfielder Alharbi El Jadeyaoui (1/0) is injured.
PAOK didn't impress in the previous game against Qarabag, but the team shows decent form in the domestic competitions and are known to play way, way better in front of own fans. Visitors are in decent form, but I don't see plenty of chances for them to stay undefeated here.