Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Buoyed by back-to-back wins over Basel, PAOK play host to Spartak Moscow at their Stadio Toumbas in what is expected to be a very entertaining clash. The Greek outfit seem to be on top of their game at the moment and it is no surprise they are considered favourites to win Wednesday’s football match. Serbian attacker Aleksandar Prijovic continues to impress and all eyes will be on him when the two teams take on each other at Stadio Toumbas. Spartak Moscow have already kicked off the new Russian Premier League campaign, but seeing that PAOK have been impressive in the Champions League qualifiers, we do not believe that the visitors are capable of grabbing something from the match. It has to be noted that the two teams meet for the first time ever in the elite competition.
Highlighted Player (Vieirinha):
Better known as Vieirinha, Adelino Andre Vieira de Freitas originates from Guimaraes, and it was at Vitoria Guimaraes that he spent seven years before joining FC Porto academy in 2002. Despite getting promoted to the senior side in 2005, the winger was never given a chance to impress at Estadio do Dragao and following several loan spells, he opted to sign for Greek giants PAOK.
Vieirinha clearly profited from exposure to first team football, scoring 18 goals in 78 league matches for the club. His impressive displays did not go unnoticed and Wolfsburg soon came calling. Despite arriving at the club as a right winger, the Portuguese footballer was eventually converted to right-back near the end of the 2014/2015 season and has since impressed in his new position.
After representing his country at various youth levels, Vieirinha received his first call-up to the senior squad in November 2011, but he had to wait until March 2013 to be handed his debut. The experienced footballer, nonetheless, secured his place in the 2014 World Cup squad, making one appearance at the tournament finals.
Highlighted Team (Spartak Moscow):
Spartak Moscow are the most successful club in Russia. The Narodnaya komanda did well to win the Soviet championship on 12 occasions and they won their tenth Russian Premier League title in the 2016/2017 season.
Speaking of the club’s European success, Spartak Moscow made it to the European Cup (Champions League) semis in the 1990/1991 season, but Ligue 1 side Olympique Marseille proved to be a big catch for the Russian champions. Spartak were beaten by OM 3-1 in Moscow, while suffering a 2-1 loss to the French side in the return leg at Stade Velodrome.
The club was founded in 1922 and they are considered as “the people’s team”. Spartak Moscow welcome their rivals at Otkrytie Arena, the stadium which was opened in September 2014. The venue will be called Spartak Stadium during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The club’s main rivals are Dynamo Moscow and there have always been fireworks in clashes between the two capital clubs.