Maribor vs Panathinaikos by Sunshine
With two defeats from Dinamo Zagreb in the play-off round of Champions League, Maribor players were unable to reach the CL stage losing 2:1 on the road in the first leg, but also 1:0 at home.
However, they have started much better in the domestic championship, being first at the table with seven wins and two draws, having impressive 20:4 goal difference at the same time. They have scored nine goals in previous two matches, winning four matches in a row and it's no coincidence that they have the best offensive part in the season, just as the best defense with only four goals conceded out of nine matches.
However, it's hard to judge their quality looking at Slovenian league performances as there are no real matches for Maribor there. Darko Milanic, their coach is expected to field up the team in a 4-4-1-1 formation taking quite defensive approach, just like Maribor played in recent years in Europe.
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Panathinaikos, on the other side, lose out to Malaga (0:2 on aggregate score) in the play-off round of Champions League. Although they didn't look that bad at the beginning of the qualifying path, winning over Motherwell in the previous round, 5:0 on aggregate. However, early start of the season didn't went well for them, as they also have lousy start in the domestic championship.
Coming from a 0:1 defeat on the road to Panthrakikos in a game where they produce just an average performance failing to score for the second time in the league matches, Panathinaikos will surely be trying to bounce back with much better performance and make a good start in Europa League. The atmosphere is not the best in the locker room, with the coach not hesitating to critique his players over recent poor performances. Positive start in the group will surely be the best medicine for their situation right now. Guests have no suspension or injury problems and are expected to field up a 4-3-3 formation in this game, clearly showing what their target is.
Although the Slovenian side showed quite good football this season in both, Europe and domestic competitions, they are still somehow away from being serious club for Europa League level. Panathinaikos might not be in their perfect shape, neither they easily score, but coming here with the best possible squad clearly show their ambitions in Europa League. No matter what, they are bigger favorites than the odds suggest at this moment.
Bet: Panathinaikos 0 Asian Handicap @1.78 with Bet365