After defeat in Russia during the last round of matches PSV Eindhoven look to get their Europa League campaign back on track when they host Greek side Panathinaikos at the Philips Stadion.

  • By Michael Bell
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Dutch Eredivisie - "PSV Eindhoven v AZ Alkmaar"PSV Eindhoven suffered late heartbreak when a last minute goal handed Dinamo Moscow a 1-0 win during the last round of group games, but a win for the Eredivisie leaders on Thursday will see Phillip Cocu’s side take a major step towards qualifying from the group stages.

On Saturday PSV put in a fine performance to sweep aside AZ Alkmaar 3-0 and move four points clear at the top of the table, with midfielder Adam Maher, and left back Jetro Willems especially impressing.

The home side will also be boosted by the return of star winger Memphis Depay, who is back in the squad for the first time since a 3-1 defeat to PEC Zwolle in September. However captain Georginio Wijnaldum, Abel Tamata, Stijn Schaars, and Oscar Hiljemark will all miss out through injury.

Possible PSV XI: Zoet, Arias, Willems, Bruma, Rekik, Guardado, Hendrix, Maher, Narsingh, Depay, De Jong

Opponents Panathinaikos currently sit bottom of the group after defeats to both Dinamo Moscow and Estoril, and go into the match against PSV on the back of a 2-1 home defeat to Crete in the league. After six league games the Greek giants sit a disappointing sixth, and are six points behind league leaders PAOK.

Panathinaikos have a number of familiar faces in their squad with ex-PSV striker Marcus Berg in the squad, while Dutchmen David Mendes da Silva, and Ouasim Bouy also play for the Greek side. Mendes Da Silva will not face PSV though after suffering an injury, while Berg is also unlikely to feature.

Possible Panathinaikos XI: Kotsolis, Bourbos, Nano, Schildenfeld, Koutroumbis, Lagos, Pranjic, Zeca, Ajagun, Klonaridis, Karelis

Key Players:

Adam Maher: In the absence of Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Maher was pushed forward into the number ten role against his former side AZ on Saturday and the midfielder put in a terrific performance, scoring twice. Not having to perform his usual defensive duties with Guardado and Hendrix behind him, Maher found the space to dictate the match, and against Panathinaikos he will look to do the same.

Viktor Klonaridis: With Marcus Berg unlikely to face his old side, young Belgian forward Klonaridis may get the chance to impress up front. In five appearances so far the striker has only netted once, but last season Klonaridis bagged nine goals, and PSV’s defence will have to be aware of the 22-year-old.

Memphis Depay: The gem of Dutch football is back after a month out injured, and PSV fans will be eager to see the winger back on the pitch. So far this season Depay has scored eight goals in eight games, including two in the Europa League. The 20-year-old lifts his team up a notch when he plays, and he will be the main danger to Panathinaikos’s back-line.

Prediction:

Panathinaikos are missing some key players, including main striker Marcus Berg, and PSV should be very disappointed if they are unable to record a simple victory on Thursday. Depay is back, Maher is on form, and PSV should have too much going forward for the Greek side.

PSV 3-1 Panathinaikos




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