Saint-Etienne vs AEK Athens:
Europa League Qualifier.
Date: Thursday, 28-July-2016
Kick-Off: 20:00 UK
Venue: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Saint-Etienne are aiming for the third consecutive UEFA Europa League group stage appearance. They were eliminated in the round of 32 last season after losing to Basel on away goal rule. The started off from the same third round in each of their last three UEFA Europa League campaigns. Saint-Etienne were one of the most successful club in French football history winning 10 league titles until the 1980s.
The French side had mixed fortunes in the warm-up matches as they tasted defeats in two of the three matches they played so far. They started the pre-season with a 3-1 win over local side Clermont which was followed by a 2-1 defeats to Dutch side PSV Eindhoven. In the final friendly they were thrashed 4-1 by Swiss outfit Lausanne.
AEK Athens are making it to the to the qualification rounds of UEFA competitions for the first time since 2011/12 season. They made it to the three consecutive Europa League group stage appearances from 2009 to 2011, perishing in the same stage on all occasions. The also failed to make it out of the group in three Champions League appearances – 2007, 2004 and 2003.
AEK had a good run in five friendlies they played so far. They win in all five, scoring 9 goals without conceding. And four of those five matches were played away from home.
Saint-Etienne vs AEK Athens: Head-to-Head Stats
This is also another UEFA clash where two teams are meeting for the first time.
St-Etienne had met Greek oppositions on four occasions and they are unbeaten with 3 wins and a draw. They can also boast of a 100% win record at home against Greek teams after the 4-1 win Aris Thessaloniki on 1979 and 2-1 win against Olympiacos on 2009.
AEK had met French oppositions on 17 occasions and are left with just 1 win. They only win came at their home, which means they are yet to win a match in French soil in 8 visits.
Saint-Etienne vs AEK Athens: Prediction
This is an extremely difficult match to call looking at the pre-season form of either teams. AEK had a good pre-season, while Saint-Etienne struggled in each of their matches. But this Greek side have a poor record while in France and they lost in 7 of their 8 trips. Also, bookies have heavily favoured St-Etienne for this match and I believe they got a strong case. I expect the home side to come out with something out of this match and to be on the safer side, I will be opting on a double chance for the hosts.
Saint-Etienne vs AEK Athens: Tips
- Double Chance (Saint-Etienne/Draw).
- Both Teams to Score.