THRYLOS of Europe
Olympiacos is more than just the club’s football team as was proven this season. It was not that the football team didn’t find success, in fact they did, winning their 7th straight league title even though they had a fairly underwhelming campaign.
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However, as a club, across the board Olympiacos had a very successful season in Europe for many of the club’s sports teams. Beginning first with the football side and the Europa League, the team were able to advance to the last 16 of the competition before losing to Besiktas.
And though the club as a whole were not able to celebrate a European title, there was fine progress made by many of the clubs in different sports.
The highest profile was perhaps in Men’s basketball as Olympiacos qualified once again for the Final Four of the EuroLeague. There, in an epic match, Olympiacos defeated CSKA Moscow 82-78 to advance to the final in Turkey against Fenerbahce. Unfortunately, the Greeks could not get things going in the final as they went down to the Turkish side 80-64.
There was also great European runs in the sports of Water Polo and Volleyball. The Olympiacos women’s Volleyball team were finalists in the 2016/17 CEV Women’s Challenge Cup. Branko Kovacevic’s team defeated Yenisei Krasnoyarsk from Russia in the semis on the ‘Golden Set’ rule to earn a finals date with Turkish side Bursa BBSK. After an epic comeback in the 1st leg of the final where they came back from two sets down to win 3-2, the Olympiacos women ended up losing the return leg 3-0 and having to be content with a runners-up medal.
Both genders performed well in Water Polo. The men’s team, runners-up last year in the LEN Champions’ League, finished in the top six this season. They qualified for the Final Six in Budapest, Hungary, however they went down in the quarter-finals to eventual finalists Jug 11-8 and then fought hard, but also lost the 5th place match to Brescia 8-5.
On the women’s side, Charis Pavlidis’ team came up just short of a European title. Olympiacos lost a heartbreaker in the 2016/17 LEN Euro League Women’s Champions’ Cup narrowly losing to Kinef Kirishi in the final 7-6. The team have shown a superb consistency in recent seasons with their finals appearance this season preceded by a 4th placed finish last season and a championship in the 2014/15 campaign.
Though the club as a whole was unable to add to its 12 European crowns, the 2016/17 season surely was a sign that Olympiacos are in a healthy state with regard to being able to consistently perform and compete for trophies in a variety of sports across Europe.