Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Prediction: AEK Athens vs Celtic

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 29/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Celtic and AEK Athens are eager to take another step towards reaching the UEFA Champions League’s group stage. The Greek side hold the edge on this tie following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, but Celtic can’t be taken for granted. The Scottish side will have a huge chance to make history in their first-ever European tie against AEK Athens. This game will be played on Tuesday at 19:00 hrs BST.

AEK Athens

This will be AEK Athens’ second game in the UEFA Champions League Qualifiers, since they did not participate in the earlier two rounds. They came with a decent result out of Scotland (1-1 draw) but now have to confirm that slight advantage on their home soil. That is not an easy thing to do against such an experienced side as Celtic, but they should have enough weapons to do so. There is limited data regarding their results this season, however, as the Greek Super League has not started yet but their results in pre-season indicated one win against Galatasaray and two draws against AEK Larnaca and Atromitos. We will see whether they will complete the upset and eliminate Celtic, but one thing is certain: they are a tough team to defeat at home. Celtic will have their work cut out considering how the first leg played out.

Team News

AEK Athens are at full strength heading into this game.

Celtic

On the other hand, Celtic have already played 12 games between pre-season and competitive games, and have returned a W8, D2, L2 mark. However, those results need to be analysed with a grain of salt; if we take into account only the Scottish Premiership and UEFA Champions League matches, then the record is a “mere” W4, D2, L1. That only loss came this past weekend when they lost 0-1 against Hearts in the Scottish Premier League, but it was clear that Celtic’s mindset has always been in this upcoming match on Greek soil. Celtic have already advanced two rounds so far in the Champions League: they kicked things off with a 6-0 aggregate win over Alashkert, and later took care of Rosenborg with a 3-1 aggregate win that included a 3-1 victory at home and a scoreless draw on Norway. Knowing they have their backs against the wall following the first-leg result, Celtic will need to be at their best if they want to take another step towards the Champions League’s group stage.

Team News

The Scottish Premiership giants will have a few absentees heading into this one.

Lewis Morgan (knee), Moussa Dembele (groin) and Nir Bitton (knee) are all out. Meanwhile, Marvin Compper is doubtful due to a groin problem.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Celtic have conceded at least one goal in four of their last five matches across all competitions.
  • AEK Athens are undefeated so far this season, with one win and two draws.
  • Meanwhile, Celtic have a W4, D2, L1 mark in competitive matches this season.
  • This is the first time these two sides have met in an European competition.
  • The winner of this tie will play against Malmö FF (Sweden) or MOL Vidi (Hungary) in the next round.

Conclusion

Both sides scored in the first leg, and this game could be even more open. Especially considering both will probably have to score to ensure their place in the next stage of the tournament.

Based on that, I would expect this game to feature over 2.5 goals scored.

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 29/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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