Panathinaikos vs Slavia Praha
Both teams to score- 1/1!
Slavia Prague came into this high-level two-legged affair as the favourites and so it transpired in the first leg last Thursday.
Ivan Schranz and then Moses Usor were on target at Fortuna Arena a week ago as the Czech side claimed a 2-0 win.
Will this prove to be decisive as the two reconvene at Leoforos Alexandras Stadium?
Few clubs, from outside Europe’s ‘major’ leagues, have been more impressive in Europe in the last four seasons than Slavia Praha.
The Red and Whites reached the Europa League quarter-finals in both 2019 and 2021, before also reaching the last eight of this competition earlier this year.
However, having failed to retain their league title, Jindřich Trpišovský's side have to win three qualifiers just to reach another group phase.
Slavia have already demolished St Joseph’s 11-0 in the previous round, but this was always going to be an exponentially tougher test.
As for Panathinaikos, despite having appeared in ten Champions League group stages, this is their first time in UEFA competition since 2017.
In recent seasons, the Greens have finished in the Greek Super League’s top four, but were banned by the UEFA Club Financial Control Bod due to overdue payables.
However to avoid this being the shortest of European tours, Ivan Jovanović's team need a monumental comeback in Athens.
Whoever does prevail will face Raków Częstochowa or Spartak Trnava, almost certainly the former, in the Europa Conference League play-offs.