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Europa League | Group Stage
Sep 21, 2023 at 5.45pm UK
Stadio Apostolos Nikolaidis
Villarreal logo
2 - 0
Ioannidis (38'), Sporar (78')
Cantalapiedra (89')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Femenia (64'), Sorloth (74'), Baena (84'), Pedraza (87')

Preview: Panathinaikos vs. Villarreal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Panathinaikos and Villarreal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Panathinaikos will be hoping to take their impressive league form into the start of their Europa League campaign when they host Villarreal in the opening match of Group F on Thursday.

The visitors have had a mixed start in the La Liga, with this fixture potentially working as an ideal distraction for them to try build some consistency.

Match preview

Panathinaikos have made a perfect start to their season in the Super League Greece, winning all three of their matches to this point which has left them second in the table.

To add to that, Ivan Jovanovic's men have scored nine goals and conceded none, which has left fans very impressed by what they have seen, adding a lot of confidence to the team.

Panathinaikos secured a 5-0 win at the weekend with Bernard particularly impressive by scoring a hat-trick, which is the type of form he will wish to continue on Thursday.

However, they were unable to showcase their attacking qualities during their most recent home European match which took place in the summer as the team failed to qualify for the Champions League.

Braga defeated them 3-1 on aggregate which ended that journey abruptly, adding plenty of pressure onto the team heading into the Europa League.

Villarreal's Ben Brereton Diaz celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on August 5, 2023© Reuters

The visitors will also want to start their European adventure with three points in what promises to be a competitive group with four teams all capable of performing well on their day.

However, Villarreal have had a mixed start to the season overall after winning only two of their five La Liga matches so far.

The defensive side of the game has been the major weakness for the Yellow Submarine, having conceded 10 goals in the league so far, which is something they have to be wary of against a team performing well in front of goal.

Jose Rojo Martin's men head into this match off the back of a victory, though, in which they showcased their fighting ability, coming back from a goal down to take all three points.

Villarreal even left things until the 94th minute when Alexander Sorloth found the back of the net, which is the type of concentration that they will want to take into this fixture.

Panathinaikos form (all competitions):

Villarreal form (all competitions):

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Team News

Villarreal's Samu Chukwueze celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates on April 8, 2023© Reuters

Bernard is set to retain his place in the Panathinaikos starting XI due to his recent attacking performances, which should lead to him causing problems throughout the game.

Meanwhile, at the back there could be no changes made due to the recent impressive displays that the hosts have been putting together.

Sorloth was able to overcome a late fitness test last weekend in order to feature, and he marked that appearance by scoring the winner, which should see him retain his place.

Alberto Moreno and Francis Coquelin are unavailable due to injury at the moment, but Gerard Moreno is expected to feature as an attacking midfielder.

Panathinaikos possible starting lineup:
Brignoli; Vagiannidis, Jedvaj, Magnusson, Juankar; Vilhena, Perez; Verbic, Djuricic, Mancini; Ioannidis

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Jorgensen; Foyth, Albiol, Cuenca, Femenia; Baena, Parejo, Capoue; Morales, G. Moreno, Sorloth

SM words green background

We say: Panathinaikos 3-1 Villarreal

The hosts have had a slightly stronger start to the new campaign, and with their attacking qualities and Villarreal's defensive problems it should be Panathinaikos that take all three points.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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Group A

1West Ham540112
4Backa Topola50141

Group B

3AEK Athens51134

Group C

3Sparta Prague52127
4Aris Limassol51134

Group D

2Sporting Lisbon52218
3Sturm Graz51134

Group E

3Union SG51225

Group F

4Maccabi Haifa40131

Group G

1Slavia Prague540112
4Sheriff Tiraspol50141

Group H

1B. Leverkusen550015

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