Celta Vigo drew 1-1 away against Standard Liege in their opening match of the Europa League, and showed a below average performance in that match. That was their sixth match from the last seven in European competitions which ended with under 2.5 goals scored. However, their last appearance in Europe was way back in the season 2006/07 when they reached the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup.
Celta Vigo started their Spanish season with three straight defeats, but remained unbeaten in each of their last three matches, drawing against Osasuna and winning against Sporting Gijon and Espanyol in the last two rounds.
Celta Vigo`s biggest chance to do something in this competition is by winning their home games. However, they are expected to put a bigger focus on the domestic championship than on Europa League, as they were labeled as one of the candidates that will battle against relegation this season.
Panathinaikos had a goal lead in their first match against Ajax, but still lost that match with 1-2 at home. Ajax is probably the strongest team in this group, so that defeat was pretty much expected. However, Panathinaikos showed that they can play well against bigger sides, so they will enter this match with higher confidence.
Panathinaikos also showed a couple of good performances in the last couple of rounds of the Greek league, beating PAS Giannina with 4-0 and drawing 0-0 away against Panaitolikos in the last round. They are currently sitting at the top of the Greek league with seven points from three matches.
Panathinaikos remained unbeaten in each of their last three away matches in European competitions, winning once and drawing twice. When it comes to playing against Spanish sides, Panathinaikos have faced Spanish opposition 25 times before, winning just three games, drawing seven and losing fifteen. They drew just once and lost eleven games when playing on Spanish ground.
The Betting Verdict
Celta Vigo had a difficult start to the season, losing their opening 3 league games but they look to just be sorting themselves out and are unbeaten in 4 coming into this one. They drew their opening Europa League game at Standard Liege 1-1 and would put themselves in a strong position with victory here ahead of a double-header with Dutch giants Ajax. They’ve had to try and cope with the loss of Nolito but would have been encouraged by their 2-0 win at Espanyol on Sunday, particularly with their goals coming from their two main attacking summer signings. Goals from Giuseppe Rossi and Pione Sisto both came in injury time and they will go into this game with real momentum as a result.
Panathinaikos have had a pretty decent campaign so far, progressing through three qualifying rounds to make the group stage of the Europa League. However, they were beaten 2-1 at home by Ajax in a bad-tempered group match a fortnight ago and defeat here would leave them really struggling to find a path through to the knock-out phase. They come into this match following a 0-0 draw at Panaitolikos in the league, having comfortably won their opening two matches in the Greek top flight.
This will be a big occasion at Estadio de Balaídos, which hosts its first European game in 9 years. Celta are taking the competition quite seriously and will want to at the very least advance into the knock-out phase and they may just have a bit too much for Panathinaikos on the night. This will be a step up in class for the Greeks from the sides they met in the qualifying rounds and judging by their home defeat to Ajax last time out, they may just be a bit short on quality to really compete with the better sides at this stage in the competition.
Celta have found some form and are looking for their 3rd win in 9 days here so backing Celta Vigo to Win at 7/10 looks to offer value.
Head To Head
The sides haven't previously met.
Celta have lost just 2 of their last 15 competitive home games, although both defeats were this season. Panathinaikos have won just 1 of their last 8 away games in the Greek League.
Celta are expected to make a few changes but not wholesale ones here. Weekend goalscorer Giuseppe Rossi is likely to start up front.
The visitors are expected to name their strongest available team. However, they will be without defender Ivan Ivanov and midfielder Mubarak Wakaso after both players saw red against Ajax in the last group game.