PAOK vs Dinamo Tbilisi – Europa League Preview

PAOK vs Dinamo Tbilisi – Europa League Preview

The second leg Europa League playoff tie, PAOK vs Dinamo Tbilisi, will see the Georgian champion compete against last year’s fourth place team from the Greek Superleague. Going into the tie, the matchup was a must-win scenario for PAOK, as it was the club’s minimum goal to reach the group stage for the Europa League.

Dinamo Tbilisi’s management, on the other hand, would consider reaching the group stage of the Europa League as a major accomplishment—indeed as a dream come true. It now appears likely that Dinamo will have to wait another year to finally end the wait for European group stage football, as PAOK defeated the Georgians 3-0 in the first leg.

Hence, the second leg in Thessaloniki on Thursday should be more or less a pro forma, as Dinamo will need a miracle to reach the next stage. In truth, it would be as likely as snow in the Greek summer, for Dinamo to win the game with a three-goal cushion.

The team, which is managed by Juraj Jarabek, will, therefore, use the match as a learning experience for next season, when Dinamo will, once again, attempt to reach the group stage of either the Europa League or the Champions League (read more about the club’s quest for Champions League football here).

For PAOK, meanwhile, the match can be considered another test match, as the club still awaits the start of the Greek SuperLeague. The Greek season was scheduled to open this weekend, but controversies surrounding the selection of referees, as well as fears of violence in football stadiums have led the government to postpone matches for another two weeks.

PAOK’s Russian owner, Ivan Savvidis, has been actively involved in the political squabble over referee selection, and it will, therefore, be interesting to see whether PAOK fans will use the Europa League, as a stage on which to demonstrate against the Greek’s football authorities and the government in general.

Possible Line-ups


Formation: 4-3-3

Glykos – Leovac, Tzavellas, Crespo, Léo Matos – Shakhov, Cimirot, Chárisis – Rodrigues, Athanasiadis, Djalma

Manager: Vladimir Ivić

Dinamo Tbilisi:

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Scribe – Spicic, Amisulashvili, Renê, Lobjanidze – Álvaro, Tsintsadze – Tchanturishvili, Kiteishvili, Papunashvili – Mikeltadze

Manager: Juraj Jarabek

By Manuel Veth –