Two Games Until the End (Matchday 29 Preview)
grek superleague - matchday 29
|Date||Home Team||Time||Away Team|
|23-Apr-17||Veria||12:00 PM||Asteras Tripolis|
|23-Apr-17||Olympiacos||12:00 PM||PAS Giannina|
The 2016/17 Greek SuperLeague heads into its final stages with Matchday 29 this weekend. WIth two matches remaining, there is still much to determine. The race for the title, the playoff spots and the battle to avoid relegation will all be decided in the last two matchdays.
Olympiacos host PAS Giannina with the Piraeus side knowing that a point will clinch them their 7th consecutive league title. PAOK will attempt to do all they can to keep their slim title hopes alive when they go to Crete to face off against Platanias. AEK make the trip to Levadiakos in an important match for both teams. The home side desperately need points in order to climb out of the relegation zone, while AEK need two points in their final two matches to assure themselves of a playoff position.
Panathinaikos welcome Atromitos to Leoforos as they aim to jump into 3rd place. Panionios, the current occupiers of 3rd, make the trip to Kerkyra hoping to consolidate their position.
Larisa need a win at home to assure themselves of safety against a Xanthi team trying to keep hold of their slim playoff chances. Iraklis could remain in the top flight should they manage to defeat Panetolikos. Finally, Asteras Tripolis also need points to avoid the drop as they travel to already relegated Veria.
Kerkyra will end their home campaign this season against Panionios on Sunday. However, there will be a new face on the Kerkyra bench as interim manager Kostas Christoforakis takes the place of Michalis Grigoriou. Grigoriou left the club two weeks ago amidst of a terrible run in the closing stages of the season. Even though, Kerkyra have endured some wretched form, Grigoriou did manage to secure the club’s top-flight status relatively early this season.
Panionios clinched a playoff place on Matchday 28 as they managed to achieve their target this season. Though the club have had the odd slip-up or two in recent weeks, Vladan Milojevic’s side will now be focused on finishing the season with good momentum heading into the playoffs. There is bad news however concerning David N’gog. The French striker suffered a serious knee injury during training this week that will sideline him for the next seven months meaning he may not play again for the club until 2018.
If results go their way, Iraklis could manage to avoid relegation this weekend if they defeat Panetolikos. Savvas Pantelidis and his players are still managing to do amazing work down the stretch this season despite the continuing saga of unpaid wages. Just this week, Iraklis narrowly avoided a 3-point deduction due to financial problems. However, the off-the-pitch issues are far from over. On the field however, the club have been downright inspirational. Though they have won only five matches the entire campaign, three of those victories have come in the last six matches. This weekend, the influential youngster Christos Donis misses out against Panetolikos due to suspension.
Panetolikos haven’t had to worry about relegation for a while as they did the majority of their business in the first half of the campaign. Thus the final matches of the season have been more about attaining the best league position and building for next season.Panetolikos will be without injury victims Marcos Paolo and Marko Markovski on Sunday in Thessaloniki.
Larisa’s survival bid will receive a big boost if they can manage to defeat Xanthi on Sunday at the AEL FC Arena. It has been a very disappointing campaign for the Vyssini, but if they can stay in the SuperLeague at the end of it then it will considering job done.
Larisa currently sit two points clear of the drop zone, however should Levadiakos surprise AEK then Larisa would have big problems on their hands if they lose to Xanthi. That would mean needing to get a result away to Panathinaikos on the final day of the season.
Xanthi’s 0-0 draw away to Asteras in their last match just about ended the club’s playoff dream. While Razvan Lucescu’s team are still mathematically alive, it’s tough to see them making up a four-point gap with two matches remaining.
Levadiakos will be desperate to pull off a shock when they take on AEK on Sunday in Levadia. The club have endured a rough ending to the season which now sees them two points from safety with as many matches remaining. Last time out, Levadiakos managed a creditable 1-1 draw against Olympiacos. However, now in-form AEK come to town and then the team’s remaining fixture is away to Panionios.
The club’s lead-up to the game has been rocked by a trio of injury concerns. Petros Giakoumakis, Mohammed Youssouf, and Carlos Milhazes have all missed training at times this week. Even if one or two can make the match, certainly Levadiakos have some selection worries.
AEK can clinch a playoff place with a win on Sunday. The club have been performing very well as of late with the well-documented positive change that Manolo Jimenez’s appointment has brought to the club. The question will be whether Jimenez will rest any key personnel with the Greek Cup Semifinal Second Leg tie against Olympiacos coming up in the midweek.
Takis Lemonis’ Olympiacos need only a point at home on Sunday against PAS Giannina in order to celebrate their 7th consecutive league title.
Certainly the league leaders will be the heavy favorites against a depleted PAS Giannina team. Giannis Petrakis will be without up to six players this weekend as the likes of Pedro Conde, Jairo, and Noe Acosta amongst others will miss out due to either suspension or injury.
Olympiacos are not at full strength either for this important clash. Esteban Cambiasso looks set to miss out after a knock he suffered in training last week. Also unavailable is Tarik Elyounoussi who once again misses out.
Panathinaikos and Atromitos meet up at Leoforos on Sunday. Marinos Ouzounidis showed he was content with a playoff place as he rested many starters during the last match against PAOK where the Prasini endured a 3-0 defeat. Ouzounidis did so with the idea of resting those individuals for the Greek Cup Semifinal match against PAOK just days later and was vindicated with Panathinaikos’ win in that first leg encounter.
The league loss to PAOK means that Panathinaikos will probably not finish 2nd in the league, but Ouzounidis seems fine with focusing on the Greek Cup and the playoffs now that a spot has been clinched.
The news from Atromitos concerns whether Ricardo Sa Pinto will sign a contract that the club has offered for next season. The Portuguese boss has indicated he is looking over the contract and will decide soon. In team news, Kyriakos Kivrakidis and Spyros Natsos have recovered from recent knocks and will be available for selection.
Platanias seek finish their season on a high with PAOK coming to Chania. It should be a great atmosphere on Sunday as Giorgo Paraschos’ team will undoubtedly be acknowledged by supporters for their fine campaign. Though they have missed out on the playoffs, this has been one of the club’s best-ever seasons.
PAOK hold their destiny with regard to finishing 2nd in the league and can keep their three-point lead intact over Panionios with a win in Crete. It won’t be easy of course against a side who has lost at home only twice this season. Jose Canas will miss out through injury this weekend. Vladan Ivic’s team selection will be interesting to see especially considering PAOK’s Greek Cup tie against Panathinaikos coming up this week.
Veria must endure a bitter home finale when they face Asteras Tripolis this weekend. The club were relegated in their last match and now face the prospect of finishing the season with two matches where they know their fate.
Asteras meanwhile need a win to clinch safety, however now four points clear they look like favorites to beat the drop. Antonio Donnarumma returns to take his place in goal this weekend. Staikos Vergetis must deal however with the absence of the injured Igor Carioca and the suspended Nikos Kaltsas.