PAOK conclude worst Europa League group stage campaign in club history
PAOK only earned one victory in this year’s UEFA Europa League group stages in a campaign the Dikefalos tou Vorra will want to forget, setting a few unwanted records in the process.
PAOK, who finished second in last year’s SuperLeague, began their European season in style as they dispatched Basel (5:1 on aggregate) and Spartak Moscow (3:2 on aggregate) in Champions League qualifying, before falling at the final hurdle to Benfica (5:2 on aggregate) in the playoffs. The Greek side moved down to the Europa League group stages where they were given an inviting draw in Group L with Chelsea, BATE, and Vidi.
Despite being named the favorites to advance with Chelsea, PAOK will want to forget their 2018/19 UEFA Europa League campaign as they were handed five defeats in six group matches, only managing to defeat BATE 1:4 in a dominating performance on in Belarus matchday two. The Thessalonikis finished bottom of the group and bowed out of Europe before the new year.
In doing so, the club set many unwanted records in the Europa League run.
Worst Europa League group stage campaign in club history
With just three points from six matches, PAOK tallied the lowest number of points in a Europa League group in club history. Before the 2018/19 campaign, PAOK’s lowest point-total in a Europa League group was seven which came in the 2014/15 season with Fiorentina, Guingamp, and Dinamo Minsk and also in 2015/16 with Borussia Dortmund, Krasnodar, and Gabala.
PAOK have celebrated passage to the knockout stages of the competition on four occasions in 2010/11 (11 points), 2011/12 (12 points), 2013/14 (12 points), 2016/17 (10 points).
In the 2012/13 and 2017/18 seasons, PAOK were eliminated in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League, falling to Rapid Wied (4:2 on aggregate) and Ostersunds (3:3 on aggregate - eliminated on away goals), respectively.
First half to forget against BATE
PAOK will want to forget their first half against BATE on Thursday as they went into halftime down 0:3. It was the heaviest first-half defeat for PAOK in Europe since 1959! The last time back PAOK were down three goals at the break in Toumba was in 2008 against AEK, where the Kitrinomavri marched on to a thrilling 0:4 victory.
Four consecutive home defeats in Europe
For the first time in club history, PAOK tasted four consecutive home defeats at the Toumba stadium. The Thessalonikis began their home draught in their critical UEFA Champions League qualifier against Benfica. Hopes were high for the club’s inaugural place in the group stages of the competition after fighting to a 1:1 draw in Lisbon, however a 1:4 defeat in Thessaloniki saw the Portuguese club qualify for the main event as PAOK dropped to the Europa League group stages.
However, Europe’s second tier club competition did not treat PAOK well as the club drop all THREE home matches in the group, a first for the club. It began with a 0:1 defeat to Chelsea, followed by a shocking 0:2 loss to Vidi, before BATE celebrated a 1:3 win over the Dikefalos tou Vora in a do-or-die match on the final matchday.