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AEK Athens have all to do in the second leg of the game against Royal Antwerp in order to try and reach the Champions League group stages. AEK Athens are trailing 1-0 from the first leg, which witnessed a woeful offensive display from the Greek outfit. Meanwhile, Antwerp have a lead to protect coming into the crucial second leg.
AEK Athens vs Antwerp Predicted Lineups and News
AEK Athens – Can AEK Athens rise up to the occasion?
AEK Athens have not reached the group stages of the Champions League since the 2018-19 season. After having made it to the Europa League only once since then, one can witness the struggles of Athens in European games. Matias Almeyda struggled to shake off this low confidence in the first leg and a repeat of the same performance will not get them past the Belgian team.
Team news: AEK Athens
AEK Athens continue to struggle for goals and the club will be without Levi Garcia for the upcoming game. The forward picked up a thigh injury in the first leg and he will be unavailable for the next few weeks. Similarly, Paolo Fernandes will not feature in the game because of the Achilles problem, which will keep him out for a few months. Due to the absence of Garcia, Tom van Weert is likely to lead the line.
AEK Athens Predicted Lineups (4-3-1-2):
Athanasiadis, Djibril Sidibe, Gerasimos Mitoglou, Chrysopoulos, Milad Mohammadi, Niclas Eliasson, Galanopoulos, Rodolfo Pizarro, Jens Joensson, Tom van Weert, Petros Mantalos
Antwerp – Slender Lead to Overshadow Injury Crisis?
Royal Antwerp have a 1-0 lead coming into the game. And despite being second-best in almost every regard in the first leg and playing with 10 men for a decent chunk of the game, Antwerp continue to hold a lead on aggregate. This is likely to keep the team pegged back in their defensive third once again. Manager Mark van Bommel has some serious decisions to make ahead of the game with Antwerp missing several key defenders due to injuries and suspension. Antwerp are looking to reach the Champions League group stages for the first time.
Team news: Antwerp
Royal Antwerp have a lead to protect and the club will be heading into the game without the absence of defender Kobe Corbaine. However, he is not the only player in the defensive setup to be absent from the game. Central defender Bjorn Engels is also ruled out of the game due to an Achilles problem while goalkeepers Ortwin de Wolf and Davino Verhulst are also missing because of a finger and eye issue respectively. If these are the injury issues, defender Bataille picked up a red card in the first leg. The absence of the 24-year-old causes more selection headaches for Mark van Bommel.
Antwerp Predicted Lineups (4-1-4-1):
Jean Butez, Jelle Bataille, Toby Alderweireld, Soumaila Coulibaly, Ritchie De Laet, Mandela Keita, Jurgen Ekkelenkamp, Arthur Vermeeren, Jacob Ondrejka, Vincent Janssen, Ange Balikwisha
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