Final Stretch in the SuperLeague (Matchday 28 Preview)
The 2016/17 Greek SuperLeague season enters its final three matches with this weekend’s slate of fixtures. As in recent weeks, Matchday 28 throws up some extremely crucial matches that will go a long way in defining some clubs’ seasons.
The Thessaloniki-Athens ‘derby’ between PAOK and Panathinaikos is surely the most profile of the weekend fixtures as 2nd place goes on the line in that match.
Olympiacos can clinch their 7th consecutive league title with a victory over a Levadiakos team fighting for their SuperLeague lives.
The race for 5th place and the final playoff spot looks set to be fought AEK and Xanthi. AEK, currently two points ahead for the final playoff place, host slumping Kerkyra at home. Xanthi face a trickier trip away to an Asteras Tripolis team that looks improved since the return of Staikos Vergetis.
Panionios try to bounce back from a midweek defeat with a good result against Platanias.
The teams fighting against the drop all have difficult fixtures to navigate this weekend. Iraklis will attempt to find points at PAS Giannina while Veria go to Panetolikos hoping to keep up their good form. Elsewhere, Larisa is at Atromitos needing to bounce back from a heavy midweek defeat.
***For the full SuperLeague schedule click here or visit the Greek SuperLeague home page for more. For TV Listings of this weekend's games (and more) in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Greece visit our TV Listings's page. All time are listed in EST, which is SEVEN hours BEHIND the local Greek time.
GAME OF THE WEEK: paok - panathinaikos
|PAOK||12:00 PM (EST)||Panathinaikos|
It has all the makings of a terrific derby when PAOK and Panathinaikos clash this weekend in Thessaloniki. The match at the Toumba Stadium promises to be a close one as the league’s number two and three teams face off.
Panathinaikos head to Greece’s second city full of confidence. There is a real momentum right now for Marinos Ouzounidis and his players. The Prasini have won three matches on the trot, all victories against top five teams. It does seems as though PAO are peaking at the right time. One omission from the squad will be Robin Lod who appears set to miss out due to injury.
Though PAOK haven't recorded the caliber of wins over quality opponents as Panathinaikos has in their last few games, their wins have been quite comfortable as of late. Vladan Ivic’s men have been consistent as they have taken over 2nd place following a victory at Atromitos.
aek - kerkyra
|AEK||12:00 PM (EST)||Kerkyra|
AEK’s playoff ambitions face another test this weekend with a home match versus Kerkyra. Manolo Jimenez’s men picked up a very important 2-0 win over Platanias on Thursday. That victory keeps AEK in the driver’s side with regard to 5th place, but Xanthi are in good form as well and are not letting up.
AEK will be without Vasilis Lambropoulos for a lengthy spell as he suffered a terrible knee injury against Platanias.
Kerkyra have lost three on the spin. Michalis Grigoriou’s team managed an improved display against Olympiacos on Wednesday, but still went down to a 2-0 defeat. With safety assured a while back, the lack of motivation and something to fight for have had a detrimental effect on the team in recent weeks.
asteras tripolis - xanthi
|Asteras Tripolis||12:00 PM (EST)||Xanthi|
One of the weekend’s more appetizing fixtures will take place in Tripoli as Asteras hosts Xanthi. The two sides have different goals, but need the victory nonetheless. Asteras are coming off a fantastic 4-1 win at Larisa which all but assured their safety. That said, mathematically Staikos Vergetis’ side are not completely safe yet, so a victory would make sure of their survival.
Two points behind AEK, Xanthi need the win to keep up their challenge for 5th place. A win and they could keep the pace with AEK or even potentially leapfrog the Kitrinomavri should they falter against Kerkyra. A defeat though for Razvan Lucescu’s team could have disastrous consquences and leave Xanthi as many as five points behind their rivals with only two games to play.
atromitos - larissa
|Atromitos||12:00 PM (EST)||Larissa|
Two teams near the bottom of the form table meet up in Peristeri as Atromitos welcome Larisa. The home team have lost four of six and have gone from playoff chases to the mediocrity of midtable. Larisa meanwhile have been even worse over their last six matches and are coming off a 4-1 thumping at the hands of Asteras in the midweek.
Something will have to give in this match. Atromitos are one of the league’s worst home sides while Larisa one of the worst away team having not win a single away fixture all season. While Atromitos have nothing substantial to play for (besides going for 8th place), Larisa have entered into some trouble with recent defeats concerning relegation. Another loss this weekend along with other results this weekend could spell trouble for the Vissini going into the final two matches.
levadiakos - olympiacos
|Levadiakos||12:00 PM (EST)||Olympiacos|
Despite a total loss of form over the last eight weeks, Olympiacos can clinch the league title with a win at Levadiakos on Sunday.
Takis Lemonis led his team to a second consecutive victory this week and now has his players on the brink of the title.
Levadiakos are only above the drop zone on goal difference and face a trio of very tough matches to end their season. The club will need something special against some of the league’s best teams to avoid falling into the second division.
panetolikos - veria
|Panetolikos||12:00 PM (EST)||Veria|
Few would have predicted Veria to have a chance at survival a couple of weeks ago. However with two wins, including a 3-0 victory over PAS Giannina this week, Ratko Dostanic and company appear poised to fight until the end.
Panetolikos have been a good side at hole, but in recent weeks their results have been less than impressive. Add to that the fact that they are only playing for league position and Veria again look to have a chance at another massive win.
pas giannina - iraklis
|PAS Giannina||12:00 PM (EST)||Iraklis|
Iraklis have shown real character this season in trying to avoid relegation. Recently, results have gone the way for Savvas Pantelidis and his players so much that they now stand a chance of SuperLeague survival. A win against PAS Giannina could see o Giraios come out of the relegation zone for the first time in months.
A crucial midweek victory over fellow drop zone strugglers Levadiakos has supporters believing in the impossible. PAS Giannina have found themselves to be quite inconsistent lately and were the recipients of a heavy defeat to Veria during the midweek fixtures.
panionios - platanias
|Panioinos||12:00 PM (EST)||Platanias|
Panionios will seek to bounce back when Platanias come to Nea Smyrni this weekend. Vladan Milojevic’s side went down to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Panathinaikos on Thursday ending any hopes of challenging for the title in the final games of the season.
Winning the championship was always a long shot due to Olympiacos’ early lead during the season, but now Panionios will surely be targeting the playoffs and claiming a spot in the Champions’ League qualifying rounds.
Platanias’ playoff hopes seemed to be squashed with their home defeat to AEK on Thursday. Giorgos Paraschos has led his team to a superb season, however claiming a top five position seems to be just beyond Platanias. Surely, the Chania side will go down swinging and a win at Panionios could see them at least stay alive.