Greek Football League Promotion Battle

Greek Football League Promotion Battle
 

The relegation race in the Greek SuperLeague looks set to go down to the wire. Though Veria have already been relegated, the other team that will go down probably won’t be known until all is said and done on the final day of the season.

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It’s a good time then to check out what is happening in the second division and which teams are poised to make the jump to the top-flight. The promotion race is the Greek Football League has its favorites along with a group of outsiders still trying to make a late push. 

The top two are the big favorites to move up to the SuperLeague next season. Undefeated Apollon Smirnis is on 68 points after 26 matches, three ahead of second-placed Lamia. After that, six points behind is Aris, who realistically still could challenge the supremacy of the top two. OFI and Trikala are further behind and are certainly the rank outsiders for promotion. That said, they are still in the race and a superb run to close out the season could still see them claim an unlikely promotion.

AGONAsport brings you the standings, remaining schedules, and short analysis of the top 5 clubs in the Football League aiming to play in the Greek SuperLeague for the 2017/18 season.


CURRENT STANDINGS (1st - 5th)

Rank Team GP Points
1 Apollon Smyrnis 26 68
2 Lamia 26 65
3 Aris 26 59
4 OFI 26 54
5 Trikala 26 52

APOLLON SMYRNIS
 

Remaining Matches:
Matchday 27: Kalloni (H)
Matchday 28: OFI (A)
Matchday 29:Panelefsiniakos (H)
Matchday 30: Lamia (A)
Matchday 31: Trikala (H)
Matchday 32: Aris (A)
Matchday 33: Chania (H)
Matchday 34: Panthrakikos (Apollon awarded 3 points from this match due to Panthrakikos no longer being in league)

Analysis: Apollon are certainly in a position of strength heading into the final stretch of this campaign. The league leaders are three points clear at the top and on the final day of the season will pick up an automatic three points with the match against Panthrakikos who have exited the Football League. However, all is not so rosy especially with a quick glance at the team’s remaining matches. Without a doubt, Apollon have the most difficult schedule remaining of the top teams in the Football League. They played the rest of the top 5 in this last stretch including difficult away trips to Lamia, Aris, and OFI. While they remain the odds-on-favorite to win the League and subsequently promotion to the SuperLeague next season, Apostolos Mantzios’ side still have work to do to ensure that happens.  


lamia
 

Remaining Matches:
Matchday 27: Panserraikos (H)
Matchday 28: Acharnaikos (A)
Matchday 29: OFI (H)
Matchday 30: Apollon Smirnis (H)
Matchday 31: Aris (A)
Matchday 32: Panthrakikos (Lamia awarded 3 points from this match due to Panthrakikos no longer being in league).
Matchday 33: Sparti (A)
Matchday 34: Anagenissi Karditsas (H)

Analysis: Lamia will be hoping for some slip-ups by Apollon in the coming weeks so that they can overtake the league leaders and win the Football League themselves. Either way, Babis Tennes’ men are looking good in their push for promotion. Certainly, their schedule has some tricky matches remaining. The crucial set of fixtures appears to range from Matchday 29 to Matchday 31. In that stretch, Lamia take on OFI, Apollon Smirnis, and Aris all in quick succession. Their results in those important matches could dictate whether they can finish 1st this season or at least ensure 2nd place and promotion.


aris
 

Remaining Matches:
Matchday 27: Agrotikos Asteras (H)
Matchday 28: Panserraikos (A)
Matchday 29: Acharnaikos H)
Matchday 30: OFI (A)
Matchday 31: Lamia (H)
Matchday 32: Apollon Smirnis (H)
Matchday 33: Panthrakikos (Aris awarded 3 points from this match due to Panthrakikos no longer being in league).
Matchday 34: Sparti (H)

Analysis: Aris need to make up a six-point gap on Lamia to nab promotion via 2nd placed finish. Between Matchdays 30-32 is where Aris need to focus. They face the exact teams that Lamia take on as mentioned above. Aris are away to OFI in those matches before returning home to face off against Lamia and Apollon. The match against Lamia in Thessaloniki represents a massive opportunity to cut the deficit between them and second place..


ofi
 

Remaining Matches:
Matchday 27: Acharnaikos (A)
Matchday 28: Apollon (H)
Matchday 29: Lamia (A)
Matchday 30: Aris (H)
Matchday 31: Panthrakikos ( awarded 3 points from this match due to Panthrakikos no longer being in league.)
Matchday 32: Sparti (H)
Matchday 33: Anagenissi Karditsa (A)
Matchday 34: Aiginiakos (H)

Analysis: The two remaining teams OFI and Trikala have  loads of work to go just to get back into the promotion race. Surely, OFI need to be considered an outsider at this stage. The Crete club’s remaining fixtures are difficult to say the least. However, it’s also a big opportunity as OFI can begin a late push by defeating the teams above them. Nikos Papadopoulos’ team are currently 11 points off a promotion spot so clinching a place in the top two looks incredibly difficult still.


trikala
 

Remaining Matches:
Matchday 27: Aiginiakos (H)
Matchday 28: Kissamikos (A)
Matchday 29: Kalloni (H)
Matchday 30: Panelefsiniakos (A)
Matchday 31: Apollon Smirnis (H)
Matchday 32: Chania (H)
Matchday 33: Kallithea (A)
Matchday 34: Panegialios (H)

Analysis: If OFI’s path to the SuperLeague looks very tough to see then Trikala’s road is seemingly possible. How can else can you state that as the club are 13 points from 2nd with eight matches remaining. The saving grace for Periklis Amanatidis and his players is from the remaining schedule. His side has easily the best set of remaining matches as far as opponents’ current table position. Trikala face only one other side in the top 8 (Apollon at home on Matchday 31) and have matches against each of the league’s bottom four sides remaining. While it would still take a sporting miracle to see the Central Greece side go up, the schedule is about as good as it could ask for at this stage of the season.

 
by: Giorgos Tsitsonis. Contact the writer at tsitsonisg.agonasport@gmail.com
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