Kick Off: Tuesday 31st July
Live on Bet365 streaming 7.45pm
Motherwell take a step into unknown territory tonight as they face Greek side Panathinaikos in their first ever appearance in the Uefa Champions League.
Well boss Stuart McCall approaches this game admitting that the new experience is completely alien to him and he doesn’t know anything about their opponents, although he did state the Panathinaikos aren’t the team they were in the past.
McCall expects at least 10,000 fans to turn out to support his team tonight as they face the Greek Super League runners up in a match that sees Panathinaikos installed as odds on 8/11 favourites with Bet365.
Motherwell finished 3rd in the Scottish Premier League last season which happened to be their best finishing position in over 4 years. Their efforts should’ve secured a Europa League berth, but due to Rangers demotion to the Scottish 3rd division, Stuart McCall’s side have replaced them in Europe’s elite competition.
So can Motherwell compete against Panathinaikos over two legs? Pre season results have been encouraging with Motherwell getting a draw against Everton ten days ago and then beating Hamilton Academicals 3-0 this time last week.
As far as Panathinaikos are concerned we don’t know too much about them. According to their boss they have played all friendly games behind closed doors during the pre season.
We do know that the visitors to Fir Park have a very bad disciplinary record, and that could play into Motherwell’s hands. No less than 109 yellow card were handed out during the Panathinaikos domestic campaign last season.
From a betting point of view it’s very hard to sum up who has the advantage in the first leg. It’s going to be terribly difficult for Motherwell to get a result in Greece in the return leg so you have to think that McCall’s team will be looking to gain a couple of goals to make things a bit more comfortable.
The 15/4 available with Bet365 about the Motherwell win looks a little bit overpriced considering the circumstances of theis being a very early season match, and the fitness of Panathinaikos must be taken on trust. Motherwell may well strip fitter, and with the home advantage, the odds look a little too big to me.
Greek league football, although considered stronger than Scottish, isn’t particularly hitting the headlines lately, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling Motherwell could produce a result for the Fir Park faithful.