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How strong is AEK Athens?

The Greeks are the Thursday night opponent of Club Brugge in the play-offs of the Europa League.

Petros Mantalos: the captain of AEK Athens. © BELGAIMAGE

Nikiste, nikiste, nikiste! It is a sentence from the club song of AEK Athens. Translated: win, win, win! But it seems as though Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, the club from Athens in the last few years are not well disposed. The latest title already dates from 1994, only the Greek cup was in the last decade, two times won (2011 and 2016). Last season was the in 1924 founded traditieclub fourth in the league, on some speerworpen distance from champion Olympiacos. In the play-off with four teams for the second CL-ticket made AEK or impression and it was stronger than PAOK, Panathinaikos and Panionios.

In the third qualifying round of the Champions League came, however, just like Club Brugge, on a stronger opponent: CSKA Moscow. It was hopeless in the boat with 0-2 at home and 1-0 in Russia. That was a serious setback for the club, that her senses had been put on the groups of the kampioenenbal and to do this early in the season, the necessary transfers had done, among whom the Belgian attacker Viktor Klonaridis (25), who of the French resembled the Lens) and the young striker Giorgos Giakoumakis (22). That last will be there due to an injury against Club Brugge, no.

Those attacking reinforcements were needed, because AEK missed last season, a real powerhouse. In the meanwhile, to Israel’s left Czech Tomas Pekhart was the clubtopschutter with only 9 goals in 30 matches.

Old friends

Against Club Brugge will be Marko Livaja for the goals. The 23-year-old Croat was also this summer to the Greek capital, met. Last season, he was at Las Palmas in Primera División good for five goals, but he was in one of the last games of the season against Alavés notice with an attack on Marcos Llorente. It gave him five days suspension. An explosive guy, but he can also explode in the sixteen meters. The 33-year-old Portuguese Hugo Almeida, one of the well-known names in the selection, is past its peak and may start on the bench.

Another old acquaintance is Dmitro Tsjigrinski, the 30-year-old Ukrainian defender ever on a red-blue Monday when FC Barcelona signed. Together with the Bosnian international Ognjen Vranjes (27) he is a very experienced defensive duo.

On the civil society the Swedish international Jacob Johansson (27) as a box-to-boxmiddenvelder for the balance, but he also has an excellent pass into the feet. A lot of teams, such as Toulouse and Las Palmas, preying on him. Also in the holes to keep in the middle lane is Petros Mantalos (25), in support of the striker plays. In a brilliant day of the Greek captain just about everything, only he dares his defensive duties are sometimes negligible.

President Dimitris Melissanidis recently announced that AEK new stadium is going to build the Agia Sophia Stadium. The arena with 31.500 seats must be between 80 million euros in costs. The revenues from Europe are welcome. The Spanish coach Manolo Jiménez knows what to do.

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