Greek side PAOK Salonika were originally penciled in for a Europa League spot, though have been given a shot at qualifying for the Champions League after Metalist Kharkiv were disqualified amidst match-fixing allegations. PAOK travel to Gelsenkirchen to play Schalke in the first leg of their Champions League playoff on Wednesday, hoping to qualify for the group stages for the first time in their history.
It's a match of particular significance for PAOK's Dutch coach Huub Stevens, who was appointed earlier this summer after being sacked by Schalke. PAOK, who finished second in the Greek Superleague last season, are without new attacking midfield signing Zvonimir Vukić, veteran defensive midfielder Pablo Gabriel García and young defenders Dimitris Konstantinidis and Stelios Pozatzidis for the trip, with all having been left out of Stevens' squad.
Jens Keller's Schalke, who suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in their last Bundesliga match, are clear favourites to take victory, though could play a rotated team. They're without long-term casualties Chinedu Obasi, Anthony Annan and Kyriakos Papadopoulos, while star striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar suffered a knee injury against Wolfsburg and is unavailable. Ádám Szalai is expected to start.
Schalke 04 injuries and suspensions
Out: Chinedu Obasi, Anthony Annan, Kyriakos Papdopolous, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. In doubt: None.
PAOK Salonika injuries and suspensions
Out: Zvonimir Vukić, Pablo Gabriel García, Dimitris Konstantinidis, Stelios Pozatzidis. In doubt: None.
PAOK Salonika: Jacobo Sanz Ovejero; Lino, Miguel Vítor, Íñigo López Montaña, Stelios Kitsiou; Miroslav Stoch, Alexandros Tziolis, Costin Lazăr, Lucas Pérez Martínez; Stefanos Athanasiadis, Dimitris Salpingidis
Match Date/Time: 8:45 p.m. local, 2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
TV: Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Soccer Channel (U.S.), Sky Sports Red Button (U.K.), Sky Sport 1, ZDF Sport (Germany)
Online: Fox Soccer 2Go (U.S.), Sky Go (Germany)