Fiorentina were drawn into a fairly easy group with as less travel requirements as possible. It is safe to say that a less than regular line-up should be able to qualify with ease to the round of 32.
Learning about the competition
PAOK were founded the same year as Fiorentina 1926. On the European level and in the 10 past years, PAOK have never moved on from the round of 32 in Europa League. It must be noted that they have dropped out of the Champions League twice since 2003 to join Europa Leauge and only reach the round of 32 before going out of Europa all together.
On the domestic level, the Greek Super League kicked off last week and PAOK was held to a draw with Kalloni at home. Last year PAOK finished second in the domestic league and qualified to the Greek Super League play-offs. In the play-offs teams ranking in the league 2nd to 5th, play home and away matches with the other 3 teams. PAOK finished second in the play-offs and lost a spot in the Champions League play-offs round to Panathinaikos.
PAOK started this season's European journey in the Europa League against Moldova's Zimbru. The Greeks managed to turn a 1-0 loss away to an aggregate victory of 4-1 at home.
PAOK changed 5 managers in the last two years with Anastasiadis taking control this Summer. The Greek side kit is black and white which gives a little bit more reason to crush them in both legs.
EA GUINGAMP (France)
Over a 100 years old Guingamp enters Europa League for the third time in their history after their last qualification in 1996. they lost and were taken out in the first round in that season. The french league has reached the fourth matchday this weekend and Guingamp is set to play against Lorient on Satuday. The french outfit lost two and won one game in their French season opening matches.
Guingamp qualified through winning the French Cup. They finished 16th and just two ranks above demotion to Ligue 2 last season. Even though Guingamp seem to be one of the weaker teams, winning over Monaco 3-1 in the Semi-finals and Rennes in the final is surely a worrying fact. They are managed by Gourvennec since 2010.
FC DINAMO MINSK (Belarus)
The team in Pot 4 (Hopefully not the Costa Rica of this competition) was founded a year after Fiorentina. Minsk played in most of the Cup editions in the past 10 years but did not manage going beyond the qualifying stage in most of them.
Nationally, The Belorussian League witnessed major changes to the league format. Phase one consists of 12 teams that play in a typical league format. The top six teams (Minsk was ranked third) qualify to the second phase (Championship) which is just a smaller league where Minsk finished third as well and secured qualification to the second qualifying round in the current Europa League.
Dinamo Minsk qualified comfortably to the third qualifying round after defeating MYPA 3-0 on aggregate. A similar performance gifted them another 3-0 victory over CFR Cluj. Last but not least, Dinamo Minsk won over Nacional 5-2 in the play-offs to qualify for the Group stage.
Dinamo Minsk could this Sunday celebrate winning phase one of the 2014 Belarus League in the last matchday Naftan. Minsk are currently in second behind Borisov with 2 points difference.