BREAKDOWN: SuperLeague Race for the Playoffs
The playoff race this season is one of the best the SuperLeague has had since the current format came into effect in 2007. 6 teams have a realistic shot at claiming one of the four spots. PAOK, Panathinaikos, and Panionios look set to claim the first three spots barring an end-of-season collapse for one of those sides. That leaves three teams fighting it out for 5th place and the final playoff berth. AEK currently look the favorites for that final spot, however Xanthi and to a lesser extent Platanias still have hopes.
AGONAsport breaks down the points and each team’s remaining schedule as well as analysis for each club below.
CURRENT STANDINGS (2nd - 7th)
Matchday 28: Panathinaikos (H)
Matchday 29: Platanias (A)
Matchday 30: Kerkyra (H)
Analysis: PAOK have taken care of the matches they were expected to win in the last few weeks including a big victory over Panionios. This weekend’s derby against Panathinaikos could end up deciding which club finished 2nd in the SuperLeague. After that the team face a tough trip to Platanias before a very winnable final home game against Kerkyra.
Matchday 28: PAOK (A)
Matchday 29: Atromitos (H)
Matchday 30: Larisa (H)
Analysis: No team has been more impressive in recent weeks than Panathinaikos. The Prasini have won three derbies in a row, registering victories over Olympiacos, AEK, and Panionios. Now they face-off against Panathinaikos at the weekend knowing that a victory will put them in the driver’s seat for 2nd place. After the away trip to Thessaloniki, Marinos Ouzounidis will prepare his side for two home fixtures against two sides experiencing a dip in form in Atromitos and Larisa.
Matchday 28: Platanias (H)
Matchday 29: Kerkyra (A)
Matchday 30: Levadiakos (H)
Analysis: Panionios have experienced two defeats against PAOK and Panathinaikos in their last few matches. In and around those fixtures they have won the matches they were expected to win. Vladan Milojevic’s team finish the season at home to Levadiakos and before that away to Kerkyra. On paper, they will fancy their chances of claiming six points from those two matches. The toughest remaining fixtures for the Nea Smyrni side remains this weekend’s home tie against Platanias.
Matchday 28: Kerkyra (H)
Matchday 29: Levadiakos (A)
Matchday 30: PAS Giannina (A)
Analysis: AEK rebounded from last weekend’s defeat to Panathinaikos with a vital 2-0 away win at Platanias. That had the double effect of keeping AEK in 5th place while seriously damaging Platanias’ playoff aspirations. AEK’s remaining schedule is relatively straightforward with trips to Levadiakos and PAS Giannina to finish off the campaign after this weekend’s home match against Kerkyra.
Matchday 28: Asteras Tripolis (A)
Matchday 29: Larisa (A)
Matchday 30: Veria (H)
Analysis: Xanthi have the best schedule remaining of the teams fighting for the playoffs. That’s on paper of course and potentially they will face some difficult matches as all three teams they have left to play are fighting for survival at the bottom of the table. Certainly, the most difficult match looks to be this weekend’s away trip to Asteras Tripolis. A win there and that could provide more momentum going to Larisa on Matchday 29 and hosting Veria in the final round of matches. Two points behind AEK at the moment, Xanthi are considered strong challengers for 5th place based on current form and their remaining schedule.
Matchday 28: Panionios (A)
Matchday 29: PAOK (H)
Matchday 30: Atromitos (A)
Analysis: Platanias could look back on this week’s defeat to AEK as the one that knocked them out of the playoff picture. Though mathematically Giorgos Paraschos’ team still have all to play for, the situation has now become very difficult for Platanias who will need lots of outside help no matter what they do in the final three games. And those remaining matches do not appear to be easy. Away to Panionios this weekend, Platanias then go back to home comforts, but must face PAOK on Matchday 29. An away trip to Atromitos rounds out their campaign.