PAOK Thessaloniki host Benfica in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. The Greek club lost this fixture 4-1 in 2018 and there is every chance we see a similar result on Wednesday.
PAOK Thessaloniki got off to a winning start in the UEFA Champions League second round qualifiers. The Greek club beat Besiktas 3-1 at home with Christos Tzolis bagging a brace and Dimitrios Pelkas making it 3-0 in the 30th minute. Manager Abel Ferreira is hoping to improve in his second season in charge. The Thessaloniki club went unbeaten in their final five league matches last season, drawing four with a 1-0 win at Olympiakos. PAOK beat Panathinaikos 1-0 in a recent friendly, starting the new Greek Super League season with a 1-0 win against Larissa. Tzolis scored the winner with the 18-year-old striker continuing his fine start to the season. PAOK are missing injured midfielders Josip Misic, Douglas Augusto and right-back Rodrigo.
Benfica won their last three Primeira Liga matches of the previous campaign, but were beaten by rivals Porto after throwing away a healthy lead. The Eagles were beaten by Porto in the Portuguse Cup final despite playing against 10 men. Benfica have won all five pre-season friendlies, beating Belenenses, Farense, Bournemouth, Braga and Rennes. The Eagles responded after losing the league by opening their chequebook. Benfica hired successful manager Jorge Jesus and made some significant signings. Dutch centre-back Jan Vertonghen has moved to Benfica alongside Brazilian wingers Everton and Pedrinho. Strikers Luca Waldschmidt and Darwin Núñez have also joined the club. Left-back Alejandro Grimaldo remains injured with Nuno Tavares to start in his place.
PAOK Thessaloniki finished second in the Greek Super League last season and are further ahead in their preparation. They have been defensively solid in Greece, but have been involved in high scoring matches in the Champions League, seeing over 3.5 goals in their last four matches. Benfica should improve this season with Jorge Jesus in charge and a revamped attack. They may need some time to find their best form with new players being integrated into the team.
PREDICTION : BENFICA 1-2 WIN
ACCUMULATOR TIP : CHANCE MIX X OR OVER 2.5
SINGLE TIP : BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE