AEK Athens vs Celtic – Tuesday, August 14, 19:00 BST/20:00 CEST – Athens Olympic Stadium, Athens, Greece
It was a spectacular result for AEK away at the Paradise in Glasgow. Holding Scottish champions Celtic to a 1-1 draw, the Greek champions are now narrow favourites to advance to the second round.
The result is even more impressive given that
Furthermore, that game was also important for AEK as the club are still in pre-season preparations. The August heat makes football almost impossible in Athens and temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius will turn the Olympic Stadium of Athens into a cauldron in more than one way.
In fact, Greek football is known for its passionate fan-base, which at times can boil over into violence. As a result, Celtic can expect a stadium that will stand behind their side in a loud and aggressive way.
Hence, Celtic will overcome some adversity when they travel to Greece this week. On the field, the Scots have the advantage to be already two games into the league season.
At the same time, however, Celtic found themselves at the losing end when they faced Heart of Midlothian in Edinburgh this weekend. The result will put Celtic under pressure and suggests that the club, coached by Brendan Rodgers, has not quite found their mid-season form yet.
For Athens, this means that this might be the best time to face Celtic. But with the pressure on Celtic, the Glasgow based side needs a result, and this will be the best time to get one.
AEK Athens vs Celtic – Players to look out for:
Marko Livaja #10 – AEK Athens
Arriving on a permanent deal from Spanish side Las Palmas in the summer transfer window, the game versus Celtic should be the 24-year-old Croatian’s chance to prove his 10 goals whilst on loan, last season can become a regular achievement. Falling at the hands of CSKA Moscow at this exact stage last year, the centre-forward will be keen to try and further the disappointment of last seasons Champions League qualification round. For a striker, it is perhaps surprising that his ability in front of goal is bettered by his llink-upplay with those around him. Tapped into last season by the AEK Athens management, Livaja was frequently played in a number 10 role. Should he be given the chance, he will try his luck from distance – long shots are a favourite.
Tom Rogic #18 – Celtic
The Australian gave a man of the match performance over the weekend as Celtic returned to winning ways on the opening day of the Scottish Premier League season. His goal after seven minutes – a rare header – was swiftly followed by an assist. It was a magnificent performance, one in which The Daily Record described the 25-year-old as having ‘twinkle-toes’.
AEK Athens vs Celtic – Match Stats
- Celtic have beaten Alashkert and Rosenborg en route to the third-round qualification stage
- AEK Athens join the competition at the third-round qualification stage
- Wednesday’s hosts strolled to victory on the opening day of the Scottish Premier League season
- AEK Athens will be without captain Petros Mantalos, withdrawn from the squad due to injury
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: AEK Athens vs Celtic – 2-1
Gordon – McGregor, Simunovic, Ajer, Lustig – Kouassi, Brown – Hayes, Rogic, Sinclair – Edouard
Head Coach: Brendan Rodgers
Barkas – Lopes, Oikonomou, Ćosić, Bakakis – Simões, Alef – Albanis, Livaja, Matalos – Ponce
Head Coach: Marinos Ouzounidis
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.