PAOK’s European future riding on result against Slovan
Following a dramatic loss to Slovan Bratislava in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League playoffs, PAOK are in danger of plummeting further in the UEFA rankings.
The Thessalonikis are on the verge of being eliminated in the Europa League playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons. The last time PAOK failed to make the Europa League group stages was in the 2017/2018 campaign when the Dikefalos tou Vorra suffered a shock defeat on away goals to Swedish outfit Ostersund (3-1, 0-2).
The reigning Greek champions, who were eliminated by Ajax in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, must now record a two-goal victory over Slovan Bratislava (a 1-0 win will send the match into extra time) in order to advance to the group stages of the competition for the second consecutive year.
There has been a contrasting difference between PAOK’s domestic and European form as the club has lost six out of their last seven encounters in Europe, resulting in a negative influence in the UEFA Ranking. Although PAOK qualified for last year’s Europa League group stages, the team only managed three points from their six matches, which included defeats to Vidi (twice), BATE Borisov, and Chelsea (twice).
PAOK’s poor European form over the last two seasons has seen the club fail to be seeded in the Champions League draws in both 2018 and 2019. As a result, PAOK have been forced to face very difficult opponents throughout the club’s qualifying campaigns, such as Benfica last year and most recently Ajax this season. If PAOK fail to defeat Slovan Bratislava on Thursday, things will only get harder for the Dikefalos tou Vorra and qualifying for either the Champions or Europa League group stages will be an extremely uphill battle in the future.
The coefficient system used by UEFA ranks each individual club for seeding in both the Champions League and Europa League. The club coefficient is the total amount of points earned by the club in the Champions League and the Europa League over a five-season period. These rankings are used to determine a club’s seedings when draws are conducted for both European club competitions.
PAOK’s coefficient points over the past five seasons in European competitions:
2015/2016: 6,000 points
2016/2017: 8,000 points
2017/2018: 1,500 points
2018/2019: 3,000 points
2019/2020: 2,500 points (currently)
PAOK’s ranking points has dramatically fallen over the past three seasons which has seen the club’s UEFA club ranking drop to 65th.