Panathinaikos named best Greek team in Champions League
While the club is facing a variety of issues on and off the pitch, making the future look rather bleak to say the least, Panathinaikos has nonetheless been ranked as the best Greek team in the UEFA Champions League.
This is based on participations and the resulting points accrued. The Prasini sit in 23rd spot on 143 points accumulated from the 157 games played over the course of participations. This has come in the form of 49 wins and 45 draws. In their 28 participations in the tournament, Panathinaikos have scored 182 goals and conceded 214, thus resulting in a goal difference of -32.
Olympiacos are 28th in the rankings, nine points behind their eternal enemies, despite counting 30 appearances in the tournament (two more than Panathinaikos). AEK is in 69th place with 52 points in 14 appearances while PAOK are 236th with 8 points in their six appearances. The final Greek team in the rankings was Larissa in 348th place with 1 appearance and two points.
Older fans of Panathinaikos can look back on European adventures with fond memories, while younger fans can appreciate the great sides of the past and give them the recognition they deserve. One thing is certain though, fans of all ages will be hoping current and future Panathinaikos players use the fond history and weight of the shirt to spur them on to achieve greatness with the Trifili. After all it was in the UEFA Champions League where the club made a name for itself as a formidable opponent with a host of determined displays sprinkled with quality that makes fans attend matches, watch from anywhere around the world, and above all proud of their team.
Here is an opportunity to forget about the difficulties the club faces in the present and a chance to reflect on some stunning achievements by Panathinaikos in the UEFA Champions League. Even though the club has not qualified for the group stages of the competition since the 2010-11 season, when the Prasini were drawn in the same group as eventual champions Barcelona, there are still many fine moments that give die-hard fans goosebumps which contributed to the meaning of Panathinaikos – ‘fighting spirit’.
AGONAsport takes looks at these fine moments that make Panathinaikos the most successful Greek team in the UEFA Champions League:
1971 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CUP FINAL VS AJAX AT WEMBLEY
On the 2nd of June 1971, Panathinaikos wrote the most golden chapter in its history by facing an all-star Ajax side at Wembley. Ferenc Puskas’ men lost 2-0 to a team that would eventually go on to win the competition for 3 years in succession. This was the first and last time a Greek club has qualified for a European Cup/Champions League final. Players such as Mimis Domazos and Antonis Antoniadis will go down as household names and pioneers that paved the way for future generations to strive for greatness.
1995-96 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMIFINAL 1ST LEG VS AJAX
Ajax again proved to be Panathinaikos’ bogey team some years later when the two met for a spot in the 1995-96 Champions League final. Ajax won over two legs by an aggregate score 3-1 but Panathinaikos won the first leg in the Netherlands 1-0 courtesy of a late goal by club icon Krzysztof Warzycha that sent fans into delirium and made them dream of glory.
2000-01 GROUP STAGE VS JUVENTUS AT OAKA
Panathinaikos progressed to the second group stage in the 2000-01 season, finishing ahead of Hamburg and Juventus and only behind Deportivo La Coruna. The emphatic 3-1 victory of European giants Juventus was a moment to savour. Paulo Sosa scored an exquisite free kick in the first half to set the tone for a breathtaking second half as Juventus found an equaliser later in the first half. Greek National Team midfielders Angelos Basinas and Giorgos Karagounis shone brightly, with the former scoring a penalty before Warzycha put the icing on the cake.
2001-02 QUARTERFINAL VS BARCELONA
In the 2001-02 edition of the competition, the Greens topped their group ahead of Arsenal and finished 2nd in the second group stage behind eventual champions Real Madrid to set up a quarter final showdown against Barcelona. The Spanish giants prevailed 3-2 on aggregate but Panathinaikos was in the lead after the first leg due to a 1-0 win at Leoforos via an Angelos Basinas penalty.
2008-09 GROUP STAGE VS INTER MILAN AT SAN SIRO
Panathinaikos finished first in their group in the 2008-09 Champions League season ahead of Inter Milan, Werder Bremen and Anorthosis. The 1-0 win at the San Siro courtesy of a Josu Sarriegi goal off a corner proved to be of crucial significance as the Greens edged the Italian heavyweights to top spot. That win summed up the fighting spirit of successful Panathinaikos teams as a determined performance was too much to handle for an Inter side containing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, managed by Jose Mourinho.