Schalke vs PAOK
Competition: Europa League
Date: 22 February 2017
Kick-off: 18:00 CET
Schalke will feel like they can almost put their feet up and relax as they welcome PAOK to their home ground in Germany after the clinical performance they put on in the first leg. It is one thing to put a big league up at home over two legs, but PAOK now have it all to do away from home.
Schalke are a side that has a real shot in the Europa League, a team that has seen its fair share of Champions League action in their day, and even now, in the lower Europa League, they dominated their group and the weaker opposition it brought with. Teams like Krasnodar, Salzburg and Nice were pushed aside with ease as the Germans only lost one game in six, picking up 15 points. The clash with PAOK was never going to be the most challenging of games, but they still needed to be aware away from home.
PAOK have probably accepted the inevitable that trailing by three goals and going into an away game, there is not too much hope for them to upset the apple cart. It is simply that Schalke are a better team and although PAOK made it through to the round of 32, they were second in their group, and it was a pretty simple group to come second in with some really poor teams making up the numbers in Qarabag and Slovan Liberec. PAOK will have learnt a lot from facing a team as prestigious as Schalke, and that is probably the most they can take out of this exercise.
Schalke vs PAOK: First leg encounter
The Greek side only had one chance to make an impression on this two-legged fixture and it was at home. They would have felt they were in the game right until the end as Burgstaller opened Schalke’s account in the 27th minute, but after that PAOK held their own only for two late goals by Meyer and Huntelaar to put the result beyond reach.
Schalke vs PAOK: Prediction
Schalke can .and will, take their foot off the gas, and probably play a reduced team with a few stars earning a break, it could well be that PAOK do a lot better in this second game, at least scoring a goal, but Schalke are still too good not to lose so they will win both legs.
Schalke vs PAOK: Tips
Bet on the result to be much closer, and for both sides to score as Schalke ease off letting the result go to 2-1 to them at home.