Will the Greens overcome the shock of Berg’s injury?
The score of the first match of Panathinaikos against Midtjylland (4-1) has made the Greens a strong favorite for moving to the Group Stage. The morale of the team was superb after their emphatic win but everything was ruined in their opening match in Super League (1-1 away against Levadiakos). The negative result was the least of their problems as Berg (the scorer of all 4 goals in the first match) was heavily injured (broken shoulder) and he will be out for 2.5 months. The preview and betting pick:
Analysis: Midtjylland vs. Panathinaikos
Venue: Herning Stadion – Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
*On aggregate: 1-4. Highlights from the first match:
*Panathinaikos has already played two official matches for the Champions League Qualifiers against Standard Liège. The Greens failed to enter the Playoff stage after their home defeat (1-2) on 05/08/14 (first match 0-0).
*This is the second official European match of Midtjylland for this season and the fourth for Panathinaikos (last Europa League match included).
*The referee, Danny Makkelie (NED) has an average of 2.83 yellow cards in his European matches for 2013 and 2014. His last match he used the yellow card only once (UCL, 30/07/14, AaB – Dinamo Zagreb FT: 0-1).
Midtjylland had a good start in Superliga (4W-0D-1L) but they did not succeed in their search for a positive result in the Europa League Playoffs. They managed to surprise Panathinaikos with their goal at 13’ but they did not stand the pressure of the home team. The Greens scored the equalizer at 21’ (penalty kick) and were on the lead by 2 goals by halftime (24’, 45’). Berg (4 goals) became a nightmare for the defenders of Midtjylland that played with a man down since 58’ and received one more goal at 89’. The team did not have obligations for Superliga last weekend and coach Riddersholm stated his team will not quit and that they will give their best for a miraculous come-back.
Banned: Sviatchenko (DEF/1)
Injured: Janssen (FWD/1), Rasmussen (FWD/1)
The celebrations of Panathinaikos’ players for their emphatic win over Midtjylland were quickly replaced by frustration after their “away” draw against Levadiakos (1-1). The reason for using the word “away” is that the match was held at OAKA, former home ground of the Greens. The truth is they could have won if they were more accurate in their many attempts to score. Mr. Anastassiou was furious at the referee in his statements for a penalty kick that was not awarded when Berg was pushed down causing his severe injury. The player is expected to be out for 2.5 months and he is considered a very important absence not only for his goals but also for his experience in the field. Coach Anastassiou stated that Panathinaikos is forced to look for one more forward since Petrić (FWD) is often injured but this can only happen if the team will qualify to the Groups Stage tonight.
Banned: Triantafyllopoulos (DEF/1)
Injured: Berg (FWD/1/4 goals), Petrić (FWD/1)
Betting Pick: Over 2.5 goals 2.00
In my preview for the first match I wrote that I expect both matches between those two teams to have an outcome of over 2.5 goals. They are not reliable in defense and regardless of today’s winner I expect to see many goals again. You should keep in mind that Panathinaikos was forced to play without Berg for a few matches last season in Super League and they did way better than we anticipated.