Eredivisie leaders AZ Alkmaar hope to keep up their unbeaten record in the Europa League when they host Shakhter Karagandy on Thursday.

  • By Michael Bell
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johannsson cDick Advocaat’s side are unbeaten since he took charge of the club last month, and after beating ADO Den Haag 2-0 on Saturday they sit top of the Eredivisie table.

After three matches of the Europa League, AZ sit 2nd in group L, and came away from Kazakhstan with a credible 1-1 draw against Shakhter in the last round of matches.

Shakhter dominated the game, but AZ dug deep to gain a point, and will be confident of seeing off their opponent in the AFAS Stadion on Thursday. With an away game with leaders PAOK to come, a win is needed to all but see AZ into the next round.

AZ have no fresh injury worries going into the game with Markus Henriksen hoping to be back in the starting eleven.

Opponents Shakhter have finished 4th in their league, and have a crucial cup final against Taraz on Sunday which they need to win to secure a Europa League spot next season. Due to this, they have traveled to Alkmaar with only 14 men, and left some of their key stars including top scorer Andrei Finonchenko at home.

Potential AZ line up– Alvarado, Johansson, Viergever, Wuytens, Gouweleeuw, Henriksen, Gudelj, Martens, Gudmundsson, Beerens, Johannsson

AZ should have no problem seeing off a depleted Shakhter side, who clearly have no real interest in the tie, and are a different side away from home than in their own stadium. The Eredivisie leaders are in terrific form, and should be expected to win this match by a number of goals.

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