Altman motivated to win Eternal Derby, Martins expects a tough test
Ahead of the Derby of the Eternal Rivals, Panathinaikos attacking midfielder Omri Altman stated his burning motivation to win, while Olympiacos boss Pedro Martins doesn’t think the positions of the teams in the Super League will play a part.
On Sunday, the second Eternal Derby of the 2018/2019 Super League season will take place, as Panathinaikos welcome arch-rivals Olympiacos at the Olympic Stadium. At the moment, Panathinaikos languish in seventh place while Olympiacos are set to return to the UEFA Champions League, but statistics go out the window when these two meet. The first battle between the sides in the current campaign saw Pape Abou Cisse rescue a dramatic point for Olympiacos after Panathinaikos midfielder Ergys Kace had initially opened the scoring.
In conversation with the media, Panathinaikos midfielder Omri Altman revealed his still believes the Athenians can catch Aris in fifth place:
Athenian Derby against AEK last week: “Was 0:0 a good result? I don’t know. We wanted to beat AEK. However, if we look at how the match unfolded, I think a draw was the fair result. Derbies all depend on who wants to win the most. We gave everything we had. It wasn’t a pretty game for the fans, but we made a great effort. We prevented AEK from creating opportunities, and for our part, we did have a few chances too.”
His physical state: “I feel good. I’m improving every day and I feel like I’m back at 100% again.”
Chances for making fifth place of the Super League: “Yes, I firmly believe we can finish in fifth position! There are six matches remaining in the domestic championship, which means 18 points are available. We also have a very important match upcoming against Aris at the OAKA with our fans’ backing. Our goal can be achieved.”
Getting injured in last year’s Eternal Derby: “This is in the past. It’s been a very difficult year for me, but this is now history. This is a very special derby for the fans, for the city...for everyone! We have to be at our best on the pitch. We won’t be happy with a draw, we have to win. If we want to claim fifth place in the Super League, we need to win this game.”
Olympiacos head coach Pedro Martins also shared his expectations for the battle when speaking to Nova Sports:
Possibility of Ahmed Hassan playing against Panathinaikos: “The signs are positive. After training, he felt a slight pain, but this was to be expected. He’s in good shape and will be an option for us in this match.”
If the table plays a role in this derby: “This is a derby. Both teams have equal chances of winning. It’s a special game, the fans are looking forward to it, and the fact this match is so important for the supporters certainly plays a role. This is the biggest rivalry in Greece. We’re expecting a balanced game against Panathinaikos, but we really want to win, because our fans deserve to feel such joy. They’ve supported us brilliantly throughout the campaign.”
Differences in comparison to the teams’ first meeting this season: “The two teams have developed since then. In the first match against Panathinaikos, we had plenty of chances to score, and had we been more ruthless, the outcome would have been different. However, nowadays we’re much more of a mature team, and we have made progression.”
Thoughts on Panathinaikos’ season: “I don’t think anyone expected Panathinaikos to make such a strong start to the campaign. It’s not often such a young team begins the season so well. Nevertheless, given their age, it’s tough for them to compete at such a high level during the entire season. Their performance level dropped, but they have talented players, a clever coach, and they are excellent in defence. Panathinaikos are developing over time. They played well against PAOK and AEK, and I think they will give us a real test. Giorgos Donis is a very intelligent coach.”