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PAOK vs. Club Brugge: Preview, Prediction & Betting Tips

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        • (33') Ferran Jutglà
        • (45') Ferran Jutglà

        PAOK vs. Club Brugge: Preview, Prediction & Betting Tips

        As the Europa Conference League quarter-finals unfold, the stage is set for an enthralling encounter between PAOK and Club Brugge. This upcoming match not only pits two of the best teams from Greece and Belgium against each other but also serves as a critical juncture in their respective seasons. Both teams are embroiled in tight battles at the top of their domestic leagues and are desperate to claim a major European trophy—something that has eluded both clubs throughout their storied histories.

        Date: 18/04/2024

        Kick-off time: 20:00

        Location: Toumba Stadium

        For PAOK, the pressure could not be higher. Currently leading the Greek Super League's championship round with 67 points, they hold a slim margin over their closest rivals, AEK Athens and Olympiakos. With the league title and European glory both within reach, the team is at a pivotal point in their campaign. Winning the Europa Conference League would not only be a historic achievement but also a sweet solace, given their never having won a major European trophy. Their journey so far has been commendable, with the quarter-finals marking their best-ever performance in European competitions.

        Conversely, Club Brugge, sitting third in the Belgian Pro League, face their own set of challenges. Like PAOK, they are in a fierce contest for the domestic title. However, the regret of not capitalising on their dominance in the first leg, where they managed only a narrow 1-0 victory despite superior stats, adds an extra layer of tension. The Belgian team have a history of near-misses in European competitions, having been runners-up in the European Cup in 1978 and the UEFA Cup in 1976. A victory in the Europa Conference League would be a significant addition to their trophy cabinet.

        The first leg of this tie was a tightly contested affair. Club Brugge managed to secure a 1-0 victory thanks to an early goal from Hugo Vetlesen. Dominating 62% of the possession and achieving double the number of shots than PAOK, Brugge seemed the better side. However, they failed to extend their lead, which leaves the tie wide open as it heads to Greece. PAOK, on their end, might feel fortunate to escape with just a one-goal deficit, considering the balance of play.

        Under the guidance of Răzvan Lucescu, PAOK have developed a resilient and strategic style of play. The team rely heavily on the talents of attacking midfielder Giannis Konstantelias and winger Andrija Živković. Their ability to create and capitalise on opportunities will be crucial in the second leg, especially when playing in front of a home crowd known for its vociferous support. The atmosphere at their home ground could indeed play a pivotal role, providing the team with the extra push needed to overturn the deficit.

        Nicky Hayen's squad will rue their missed opportunities in the first leg and know too well the challenges of playing away in Greece. With several key players missing due to suspension, the team will lean on the skills of midfielders Hans Vanaken and Hugo Vetlesen, alongside forwards Ferran Jutglà and Antonio Nusa. Their experience and ability to perform under pressure will be vital for Brugge as they aim to defend their slender lead and seek to score the potentially crucial goals.

        Expect PAOK to adopt an aggressive approach from the start, looking to capitalise on their strong home record. Lucescu is likely to employ an XI that maximises their attacking threats while maintaining balance to ward off counter-attacks. The key will be in how effectively PAOK can transition from defence to attack, exploiting the spaces left by a possibly conservative Brugge side.

        For Brugge, the strategy might revolve around control and counter. With a lead to protect, they could look to absorb pressure and exploit PAOK's need to attack. Managing the game's pace will be crucial, as will maintaining discipline in defence to mitigate the raucous home support's impact.

        This second leg in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals is a clash of ambitions, histories, and tactical wits. Both PAOK and Club Brugge are not just playing for a semi-final spot but are also chasing glory that has been elusive for decades. As they prepare to face off, the only certainty is that both teams will leave everything on the field in pursuit of European advancement. With so much at stake, this match promises to be a captivating spectacle, emblematic of the drama and excitement that European football so consistently delivers.

        PAOK Thessaloniki In Extra Time

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        PAOK Thessaloniki In Extra Time @ 9/1


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        Draw / PAOK Thessaloniki @ 9/2

        PAOK Thessaloniki To Score 2+ Goals

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        PAOK Thessaloniki To Score 2+ Goals @ 5/6

        Team News

        PAOK Team News:

        PAOK could once again be without the services of William Troost-Ekong and Ivan Nasberg who are both struggling with minor injuries.

        The Greek side have a fairly settled starting XI and aren't likely to make too many changes for this game, with striker Kiril Despodov the most likely introduction if there is to be a change.

        Club Brugge Team News:

        The Belgians are coming into this game without a number of key players with top scorer Igor Thiago unavailable through suspension, as are defenders Brandon Mechele and Maxim De Cuyper.

        Forward Andreas Skov Olsen will also once again miss out through injury, as will goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and right-back Denis Odoi.

        Form Guide

        PAOK's form is solid at present, as the Greek side come into this game with three wins, one draw and one loss from their last five games. Prior to the defeat in Belgium, PAOK drew 2-2 away at AEK Athens, a game in which they salvaged a crucial point with an 89th-minute equaliser from Magomed Ozdoyev, which came after former Chelsea left-back Baba Rahmen had reduced the deficit to 2-1.

        Prior to that, PAOK claimed successive wins against Lamia (3-1), Panathinaikos (3-2) and Dinamo Zagreb (5-1) with the likes of Stefan Schwab, Bernard and Konstantinos Koulierakis getting on the scoresheet in that period.

        In this competition, PAOK are unbeaten in their last eight games on home soil, winning four of their last five.

        Club Brugge themselves are in good shape in terms of form too, with the Belgian outfit having won three, drawn one and lost one of their last five games. Most recently, Brugge sailed to a 3-0 win over Antwerp, which came thanks to goals from Raphael Onyedika, Michał Skóraś and Philip Zinckernagel.

        Prior to that came the 1-0 win over PAOK which followed a 3-1 win over Anderlecht, courtesy of Brandon Mechele and Raphael Onyedika (X2), which was preceded by a 1-1 draw away at Cercle Brugge and a 2-1 defeat at Sint-Truiden.

        Away from home, Club Brugge have struggled in recent weeks as they come into this game having won just one of their last five games on the road, losing three of those.

        Footy Accumulators Prediction

        Greek sides are typically very tough to beat on their own patch and with such a slender lead, Club Brugge's missed chances in the first leg could come back to bite them here. PAOK were beaten 2-0 by Dinamo Zagreb in the first leg of their last 16 tie a few weeks back then comprehensively hammered the Croats 5-1 in the second leg. It's not likely they'll win so resoundingly here, by the raucous atmosphere of the Greek crowd combined with the fact Club Brugge are missing a number of key players could be enough to swing the tie the way of the Greeks. PAOK 3-1 Club Brugge (a.e.t. : 2-1 after 90 minutes).

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        Header logoGreek Super League - Championship Round

        Team logoPAOK
        Team logoAEK Athens
        Team logoOlympiakos
        Last updated 24/05/2024

        Header logoBelgian First Division A - Championship Round

        Team logoClub Brugge
        Team logoR. Union SG
        Team logoAnderlecht
        Last updated 24/05/2024

        Where To Watch

        This game will be aired live to all subscribed U.K. viewers on the TNT Sports red button.