AZ Alkmaar end their Europa League group campaign with a trip to Greece to face PAOK.

  • By Michael Bell
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az azDick Advocaat’s side have already qualified for the knock-out round, but the tie in Greece will determine top of Group L.

However with AZ having lost their last two league games, the Alkmaar side have prioritised Sunday’s game against Heracles more, and traveled to Greece with a young squad.

The likes of Markus Henriksen, Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, Mattis Johansson, Nick Viergever, and Roy Beerens have all been left at home, as AZ look to rest a number of regulars.

17-year-old midfielder Dabney dos Santos Souza is called into the first team squad for the first time, while highly rated midfielder Thom Haye may also make an appearance.

PAOK have not been beaten at home since losing to Schalke in the Champions League qualifying rounds back in August, and have only suffered one defeat, to Olympiakos, in their last 19 matches.

The Greek side will also be confident of recording a victory over AZ, after leaving Alkmaar with a 1-1 draw back in October. AZ thought they had the win wrapped up that night after Gouweleeuw scored with ten minutes to go, but a 93rd minute equaliser saw the points shared.

Possible line-ups:

AZ- Esteban, Reijnen, Lam, Hoedt, Haps, Gudelj, Overtoom, Gorter, Berghuis, Avdic, Lewis.

PAOK- Glykos, Lino, Vitor, Tzavellas, Kitsiou, Lazar, Tziolis, Stoch, Lucas, Salpingidis, Athanasiadis

Stadio Toumbas is a tough place to go for any side, but with AZ Alkmaar traveling to Greece with such a young side, PAOK have to start the game as heavy favourites.

AZ coach Dick Advocaat is satisfied to have qualified for the next round, but finishing 2nd may see his side get a tough draw in the next round.




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