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Euro challenges for Greeks in group stages

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

Daniel Podence scored for Olympiakos at Burnley on Thursday.

TAGS: Soccer

The going is getting tougher for Greek clubs in Europe as the group stage draws for the Champions League and the Europa League have offered them serious challenges for the months to come.

In the Champions League, Greek champion AEK Athens will come up against Bayern Munich, Benfica and Ajax, three clubs that between them have earned 11 European crowns. The top two teams of the group advance to the knockout stages and the third will continue in the Europa League.

In its first game AEK will face Ajax on September 19. Coach Marinos Ouzounidis said Friday that “we need to appear competitive and everything else is to be seen on the pitch. We have the potential to get victories and points.”

Greece will have two representatives at the groups of the Europa League as after PAOK got relegated to the second-tier competition due to its elimination to Benfica from the Champions League on Wednesday, Olympiakos joined the Greek Cup winner on Thursday by virtue of its 1-1 draw at Burnley (4-2 on aggregate).

On Friday, PAOK was handed a draw against Chelsea, BATE Borisov of Belarus and Vidi of Hungary, while Olympiakos will come up against AC Milan, Real Betis of Spain and Dudelange of Luxembourg. The first round of games is scheduled for September 20.

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