PAOK Drawn in CEV Champions League
The draw for the 2017-18 CEV Champions League took place in Moscow, with PAOK being drawn into Group B alongside Halkbank Ankara, VfB Friedrichshafen, and Ford Store Levoranta Sastamala.
The Greek champions will have their work cut out for them, as they take on their opponents from Turkey, Germany, and Finland. Halkbank Ankara had previously been runner-up in the 2013-14 Champions League, and are currently the two-time defending Turkish champions. VfB Friedrichshafen, the reigning German Cup winners, also have Greek player Athanasios Protopsaltis on their roster. Lastly, the club from Finland, Ford Store Levoranta Sastamala, is seen as a surprise qualifier for this year’s competition.
Group play will commence on December 5, and wrap up on February 28. The top two teams from each group, as well as the two best third-placed teams, will advance to the next stage of the competition. It should be noted that no Greek volleyball club has ever won the Champions League, though Greek clubs have been runner-up. Olympiacos did so in the 1991-92 and 2001-02 seasons, and Iraklis did so in the 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2008-09 seasons. Russian club Zenit-Kazan are currently the three-time defending champions.