Manager-less AZ Alkmaar hope to continue their good start in the Europa League as they host Greek side PAOK on Thursday.

  • By Michael Bell
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AZ GUDAZ started their group campaign with an impressive 1-0 win over Maccabi Haifa in Israel, while PAOK also won 2-1 at home to Shakhter Karagandy.

Since AZ Alkmaars first Europa League a lot has happened, with their win over the previously unbeaten PSV in the Eredivisie on Saturday getting their league form back on track after a 3-0 defeat to NAC Breda the week before.

However coach Gertjan Verbeek was surprisingly sacked the day after the win over PSV due to a lack of chemistry with the AZ players. For the game with PAOK Martin Haar will be in charge as the club search for a permanent new coach.

They will face the Greeks without midfielder Marcus Henriksen who had to be substituted during the match with PSV due to a migraine, with Viktor Elm set to replace him.

PAOK, who are managed by Dutchman Huub Stevens are unbeaten in their last six matches, and sit 2nd in the Greek League, but they could only manage a 1-1 draw with second bottom OFI during the weekend.

AZ will have to be aware of PAOK’s dangerous attackers Tomas Necid, who previously played for CSKA Moscow, and Miroslav Stoch, who spent a spell on loan at FC Twente in 2010.

The Greek side also feature ex-Sunderland midfielder Liam Lawrence, and the highly rated Sotiris Ninis, who is on loan from Parma.

Likely Line-ups:

AZ Alkmaar- Alvarado, Johannson, Viergever, Wuytens, Gouweleeuw, Elm, Gudelj, Ortiz, Beerens, Gudmundsson, Johannsson

PAOK- Jacabo, Kitsiou, Lino, Vitor, Katsouranis, Lawrence, Tziolis, Vukic, Stoch, Salpingidis, Necid

Conclusion:

PAOK will provide AZ Alkmaar with their toughest test in Europe so far, and if the manager-less team can pick up a win then it will put them one foot in the next round of the competition.




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