PAOK vs. Levski Sofia Prediction, Tips & Odds – Jul. 28, 2022 19:30 CET
PAOK suffered a shocking defeat in Sofia last week and now they will need a big comeback to advance in third round of the Conference League qualifying.
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For the umpteenth time in the last decade, PAOK started European qualifying terribly. They lost 2:0 against Levski in Sofia and now they will need an extraordinary game in order not to end their European journey in July. Nothing worked in PAOK’s game last week and head coach Razvan Lucescu took all responsibility.
In previous years, PAOK also used to suffer shocking losses in July and August. In 2017, they were eliminated by Ostersund in the Europa League playoffs, and three seasons ago they were eliminated at the same stage of competition by Slovan Bratislava. Last year, they were also close to miss the Conference League group stage, but pulled away important 2:0 win at road against Rijeka after 1:1 in Greece.
Elimination against Levski is something that no one could have imagined. Especially, if it’s known that PAOK has additionally strengthened their team compared to last season. They kept all important players except Antonio Colak, plus they signed several new players. Now, they will have to make a big comeback or there will be already big financial consequences.
With 26 titles, Levski is the second most trophy club in Bulgaria after CSKA Sofia (31). However, neither Levski nor CSKA are in the foreground, since Ludogorets won 11 consecutive titles. How things are bad for Levska is best shown by the fact that they played last time in third qualifying round in European competitions back in 2011.
Hope for a better future returned last September. Club legend Stanimir Stoilov was appointed as new head coach. As a player, he played more than 200 games for Levski, and as head coach he won two titles (2006-2007). In addition, in 2006, he guided them to the Champions League group stage by knocking out Chievo Verona in qualifying. A year before that, he led Levski to the UEFA Cup quarterfinals.
Stoilov has worked wonders in Kazakhstan with Astana from 2014 to 2018 and he is considered the best Bulgarian coach. Immediately upon his return, things changed. He removed several players and it all paid off. In May, Levski won first trophy after 13 years by defeating CSKA Sofia in the Bulgarian Cup final. Before that, they knocked out Ludogorets in semifinals. They continued with outstanding form against PAOK and now Levski is close to advance in the third qualifying round.
That match in Sofia last week was the first one between Levski and PAOK. Score was 2:0 for Bulgarian team.
Giannis Michailidis, Omar El Kaddouri and Nelson Oliveira are injured and won’t play for PAOK. Levski cannot count on Tsunami, Iliyan Stefanov and Ivelin Popov.
One thing is for sure, there will be drama here. Stoilov is a miracle worker, but PAOK is five times more expensive and more quality team. They will certainly be much better in this match. It’s to be expected that PAOK will win with at least one goal difference. If they win exactly by one gal, the bet will be void.
Date and Time: 28.07.2022 19:30 CET
Pick: PAOK -1 (AH)