PAOK are buoyed by an impressive matchday two away win as they welcome Vidi, who are still without a point or a goal.
Article top media content
Boosted by an impressive matchday two victory in Belarus, PAOK will hope to consolidate their position in UEFA Europa League Group L as they host a Vidi side still seeking a first point and goal in the section.
• Defeated 1-0 at home by Chelsea on matchday one, PAOK rallied with a 4-1 victory at BATE Borisov, the team that beat Vidi 2-0 in Budapest on opening night. The Hungarian champions also produced an improved performance second time out, only to suffer a valiant 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.
• This is the clubs' first UEFA encounter.
• PAOK's one previous tie against a Hungarian side ended in an away goals defeat by Debrecen (1-1 home, 0-0 away) in the second round of the 2003/04 UEFA Cup, while Vidi's only prior experience of Greek opposition came earlier this season when they lost their UEFA Champions League play-off against AEK Athens (1-2 home, 1-1 away).
• PAOK enjoyed a successful 2017/18 on the domestic front, atoning for a rare early exit in Europe – they lost to Swedish debutants Östersund in the UEFA Europa League play-offs – by retaining the Greek Cup and finishing runners-up to AEK Athens in the Superleague. They harboured high hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time this season when they knocked out Basel and Spartak Moskva in qualifying ties and then held Benfica 1-1 in Lisbon in the first leg of their play-off – only to suffer a second-leg 1-4 defeat in Salonika.
• That means PAOK have extended their record of having participated in every season of the UEFA Europa League to a tenth successive year. They have reached the group stage in six previous campaigns, four of which have extended into the knockout phase but never beyond the round of 32. Schalke were the most recent team to end their interest at that juncture with a 4-1 aggregate win in 2016/17.
• The Salonika side have failed to score on matchday three in each of their last three UEFA Europa League participations (D1 L2) and have won just once at home in their last ten fixtures in the competition proper (D4 L5), failing to score in seven of them, including four of the last five.
• Vidi were Hungarian champions last season for the third time – after 2010/11 and 2014/15 – and were one step away from a UEFA Champions League group stage debut after qualifying wins against Dudelange, Ludogorets and Malmö – three teams who have also found their way into the UEFA Europa League group stage. However, the 3-2 aggregate defeat by AEK Athens ended that part of their 2018/19 European journey.
• Vidi have reached the UEFA Europa League group stage once before, in 2012/13, but progressed no further, losing all three away fixtures against Genk (0-3), Basel (0-1) and Sporting CP (1-2).
• The club's ten European games this season have yielded just two wins, but they were undefeated outside Hungary in the qualifying phase, drawing all four away fixtures. Victories on the road, however, have generally proved hard to come by, Vidi recording just three in 24 trips over their last eight European campaigns (D10 L11).
Links and trivia
• Vidi's Bulgarian international Georgi Milanov was a team-mate of PAOK's Swedish midfielder Pontus Wernbloom for five years at CSKA Moskva (2013–18).
• Fernando Varela (PAOK) and Stopira (Vidi) are international team-mates for the Cape Verde Islands.
• The son of Mircea Lucescu, Bucharest-born Răzvan spent most of his career as a goalkeeper with clubs from the Romanian capital. As a coach, he enjoyed early success with Rapid Bucureşti, winning back-to-back domestic cups and also steering the club into the UEFA Cup quarter-finals. He then had two years in charge of the Romanian national team, but it was in Greece that he further enhanced his reputation, firstly with Xanthi, then as a Greek Cup winner and league runner-up in his debut season at PAOK.
• His playing career having been curtailed at an early age through injury, Belgrade-born Marko Nikolić began coaching at various levels with local club Rad and graduated to the position of head coach in 2008. His reputation grew year on year during spells with Vojvodina, Partizan and Slovenian club Olimpija Ljubljana, and he was re-employed by Partizan in August 2016, promptly winning the league and cup double. Further success followed in 2017/18 as he masterminded Vidi's Hungarian league triumph in his debut campaign.