Vidi vs AEK Athens – Wednesday, August 22, 20:00 BST/21:00 CEST – Groupama Aréna, Budapest, Hungary
Three times Hungarian champions Vidi FC, previously known as Videoton, are attempting to reach the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. Founded in 1941 Vidi, however, do not lack European club history.
In 1985 the club reached the final of the UEFA Cup where they lost to Real Madrid 3-1 on aggregate. Then in the 1990s the club rarely made an appearance in Europe, and then it took until 2012/13 for the club to leave a mark on Europe when the Hungarians reached the group stage of the Europa League.
Finishing third in a group with Sporting, Basel and Genk Vidi has since struggled to make a deep run in Europe. The furthest the club have come was the playoff stage of either the Europa League.
Furthermore, while the club won the league title last season, Vidi have struggled early on this season. The club from Székesfehérvár has collected just eight points from the first four matches sitting in fifth-place already five points behind league leaders Ferencvaros.
Whether Vidi will be able to add to their European history remains to be seen. Facing them at this stage is AEK Athens, who comfortably dispatched Scottish champions Celtic in the previous round.
AEK last reached the group stage of the UEFA Champions League in 2006/07 where they also eliminated a Scottish club, Hearts of Midlothian, on route to the group stage. AEK would eventually finish third and were then eliminated by Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 32 of the Europa League.
Hence, the Greek champions have a unique opportunity to reach the group stage. The club from the capital won their first Greek championship since 1994 last spring after PAOK were deducted crucial points towards the end of the season.
It was a controversial finish to the season. That, however, does not take away from, the fact, that AEK have an excellent squad that will be favoured in the two-legged tie against Vidi FC. Furthermore, the first leg will take place in Budapest, rather than Székesfehérvár, where Vidi are based for domestic games. The second leg will then take place in Athens were AEK will surely seal their participation in the Champions League group stage.
Vidi vs AEK Athens – Players to look out for:
Szabolcs Huszti #9 – Vidi FC
Veteran midfielder Szabolcs Huszti returned to Hungary in February after spending a year in China with CC Yatai. An old-school playmaker Huszti had a great Bundesliga career with Hannover 96 and Eintracht Frankfurt before chasing the yuan in the Chinese Super League. Now he 35 years old the central midfielder has added some much-needed experience to Vidi FC’s midfield.
Marko Livaja #10 – AEK Athens
Marko Livaja continues to get the job done. Signed on loan from Las Palmas one year ago AEK decided to make the transfer permanent after Livaja scored eight goals and six assists in 27 games last season. Costing the club €1.8 million Livaja already has earned some of that money back when he helped eliminate Celtic in the previous round. Helping his team reach the Champions League group stage is now next on the tasking order.
Vidi vs AEK Athens – Match Stats
- Hungarian champions facing Greek counterparts
- Vidi aiming to make #UCL group stage debut
- AEK last reached #UCL group stage in 2006/07
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Vidi vs AEK Athens – 0-3
Vidi vs AEK Athens – Lineups
Kovácsik – Sopira, Juhasz, Vinícius, Nego – Nikolov, Hadzić, Pátkal – Huszti – Lazović, Kovács
Head Coach: Marko Nikolić
Barkas – Hult, Lampropoulous, Oikonomou, Bakakis – Simões, Alef – Bakasetas, Klonaridis, Rodrigo Galo – Livaja
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.