Botev Plovdiv-Maribor: Bad draw and… qualification obligation for Panathinaikos

Botev Plovdiv-Maribor: Bad draw and… qualification obligation for Panathinaikos

Me the winner that will emerge from the pair of Botev Plovdiv with Maribor will face o Panathinaikos to 2nd qualifying round of Europa Leagueon the way to qualifying for League Phase of the second tier European inter-club football competition.

it is about a good, in general, draw for “trefoil» in terms of opponent potential, as both are teams he can and… must eliminate!

The first match is scheduled for July 25 in Athenawith the rematch taking place one week later, specifically on August 1st, Away.

But let’s look at the profiles of the two teams that certainly do not scare Diego Alonso’s team, as long as it is to appear serious and do her duty

Botev Plovdiv

What did he do last season?

With a title, the Bulgarian team “sealed” its presence in this season’s European Cups, namely that of the domestic Cup. Which he achieved by defeating the champion Ludogorets 3-2 in the final, having taken the lead in the 4th minute, to equalize four minutes later and then take a two-goal lead, until the reduction of the score, which was to be the final, in the 71st minute, thin.

In the league, they finished seventh in the regular season, with 12 wins, eight ties and 10 losses and a 47–33 goal record. While in the extra round process they were ranked third among four teams, recording just one draw and five defeats, but… they were saved through the Cup.

The coach

“Fresh” on the bench of Botev Plovdiv is Dusan Kerkez, as he took over the reins last summer and combined his first season with a title! The 48-year-old Bosnian coach likes to line up his team with a 4-2-3-1 formation, while the last stop of his coaching career was Čukarički.

The star

The number 9 shirt is owned by Marko Sekulic, who has been Botev Plovdiv’s main centre-forward since the summer of 2022, when he was acquired for €250,000. Last year, the Croatian striker finished the season with 36 appearances, 11 goals and one assist in all competitions, playing a total of 1,814 minutes.

The tradition with Greek teams

Botev has faced a Greek team once in the past and that was in the 1993-94 season, against Olympiakos, in the then UEFA Cup.

The first match in Bulgaria ended 2-3, thanks to goals from Amanatidis, Tsiantakis and Batista, while in the second leg the “red and white” prevailed with an impressive 5-1, with two goals from Christensen and one each from Tsiantakis, Mitsibona and Batista , to qualify for the second round of the competition.


What did he do last season?

“Poor” in terms of collecting titles, as in the end they did not win any, therefore unsuccessful, was the year that passed us by for Maribor. At league level, they finished in second place, but -12 off the top, with a record of 19 wins, 10 draws and seven losses, as well as goals scored 67 for and 35 against.

As far as the Cup is concerned, now, things got even worse, since there was an exclusion from the round of 16 competition. After the unexpected, at home in fact, defeat with 2-1, conceding two goals in the 79th and in the third minute of stoppage time of the match in question!

The coach

Despite only being 52, Ade Simundza has a wealth of bench experience, having previously served on those of Mura, Gratcher, Alumini, and Ludogorets. The Slovenian coach took charge of his hometown team in October 2023, in his second spell in Maribor. The formation he mostly uses is 4-2-3-1.

The star

When Josip Ilicic’s name is on the roster, everyone is on edge! Even at 36, the Slovenian virtuoso is capable of making a difference for his team, as he proved last year through his statistics. Recording 36 appearances, with nine goals and 12 assists, in the league, Cup and Europe and a participation time of 1961′.

The tradition with Greek teams

Twice Maribor has been in the way of Greek teams. Initially, in the 1995-96 season, where they faced Olympiakos in the first round of the UEFA Cup, only to be eliminated by Piraeus with two defeats.

One in “Karaiskakis” with 2-0 and goals from Juskoviak and Skartado, with a penalty. And one in Slovenia with 1-3, with Ivić, Skartado again with a penalty and Handzidis being anointed scorers.

The second time he played with Panathinaikos, in the 2012-13 season, in the group stage of the Europa League, from 48 to 32 to be exact and for the 9th group of the competition.

With Maribor prevailing with a wide 3-0 at home and the “greens” getting the informal revenge, through their 1-0 victory at OAKA, thanks to the well-placed penalty of Vitolo, who had earlier missed another implementation.

Source: Sport Fm

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