AEK and PAOK face a tough task in the group stage of the Europa League after being drawn against some of the continent’s powerhouses in the draw conducted on August 26 in Monaco.
AEK will play Anderlecht, Lokomotiv Moscow and Sturm Graz in Group L, starting at Anderlecht on September 15.
Given that the top two teams of each group advance to the knockout stages, and the moderate performances by Lokomotiv and Sturm recently, AEK can maintain realistic hopes of reaching the next round.
PAOK will take on Tottenham, Rubin Kazan and Shamrock Rovers in Group A, in what appears to be a much harder task than AEK’s.
Tottenham and Rubin were both in the Champions League last season and showed their teeth by scoring plenty of goals in the playoffs of the Europa League – a mountain to climb for PAOK, who can at least expect to overcome Shamrock Rovers, the first Irish club ever to reach a group stage in a Europan competition.
The first match for PAOK is at home against Tottenham on September 15.