PAOK vs AberdeenUEFA Europa League Conference, KO: 17:45 Nov 9, 2023, Toumba Stadium
ABERDEEN will be out for revenge in Greece as they bid to make amends for their heartbreaking Europa Conference League defeat to PAOK Salonika at Pittodrie.
It looked like the Dons were going to claim a statement win when they went 2-0 ahead against the Greeks on Matchday Three midway through the second half. But the dream night soon turned into a nightmare as PAOK hauled themselves level then pinched a 3-2 win thanks to a VAR penalty in the last seconds of stoppage-time.
That left Barry Robson's men with just a point and reaching the knockout stages now looks a tall order with this clash in Thessaloniki followed by a visit to HJK Helsinki before top seeds Eintracht Frankfurt come calling.
But Aberdeen have often been at their best with backs against the wall, as they proved once more on Saturday by beating Hibs 1-0 in the League Cup semi-final after going down to 10 men.
I backed the Dons to go through in that tie because they had a superior defence but Robson's rearguard will face a tougher task keeping PAOK Salonika out. The Greeks killed off Hearts' European hopes with a 4-0 win at the Toumba Stadium in the play-offs and they've also beaten Eintracht Frankfurt and Hajdjuk Split on home soil in this Euro campaign.
Razvan Lucescu's men have yet to lose at home all season and they warmed up for this game by winning 4-2 on the road against an Olympiakos side who defeated West Ham in the Europa League last week.
That fired PAOK into the title reckoning and they are now just a point behind second-top Olympiakos and five adrift of leaders Panathinaikos. That underlines the size of the task facing Aberdeen and the Dons will need something special to keep their Conference League hopes alive.
How the bookies view it
It's no surprise to see PAOK Salonika as heavy favourites for this one and their best price is just 3/10 at BetUK. Aberdeen are as big as 11/1 with BoyleSports while the draw pays 9/2 with most firms.
Head to head
That clash at Pittodrie a few weeks ago was the first meeting of these sides in Europe. The Dons have only played in Greece once before and will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the 3-0 loss inflicted by Panathinaikos in the UEFA Cup group stage back in season 2007/08.
Players to watch
Brandon Thomas was the PAOK Salonika hero at the weekend, netting a double in that win over Panathinaikos. He will fancy another goal against the Dons and is 13/10 with Bet365 for anytime scorer.
Our man Mark cashed in by backing Bojan Miovski to score against PAOK at Pittodrie and the Macedonian also grabbed the winner against Hibs at the weekend. That took him into double figures for the season and the striker is 4/1 at Bet365 for another goal here.
Anything else catch the eye?
Aberdeen surprised plenty of people by pushing Eintracht all the way in Frankfurt but it's hard to see anything but a comfortable win for PAOK in this one. Backing the Greeks to be winning at half-time and full-time pays 20/23 at Coral while a PAOK win to nil offers a bit better value at 13/10 with Paddy Power.
I'd expect the Dons to sit back in a bid to frustrate Lucescu's side so it could pay to back the Greeks to rack up a few corners. There aren't many corner markets priced up at the moment though and the only bet that catches my eye just now is over 5.5 first-half corners at 13/8 with SkyBet.
This UEFA Europa League Conference match between PAOK and Aberdeen will be played on Nov 9, 2023 and kick off at 17:45. Check below for our tipsters best PAOK vs Aberdeen prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.