Bouchalakis progressing in Piraeus
Having returned from a disappointing spell at Nottingham Forest, midfielder Andreas Bouchalakis has impressed with Olympiacos, breaking into the Greek national team in the process. AGONAsport investigates.
The 2017/2018 season was a difficult one for Bouchalakis. Playing with Nottingham Forest in the English Championship, the defensive midfielder managed to score two goals in 21 league matches, but he fell out of favour towards the end of the campaign. Upon the completion of the season, joint Nottingham and Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis decided to give Bouchalakis a second chance in Piraeus, and he’s grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
Born in Heraklion, Bouchalakis began his career with hometown club Ergotelis, competing in over 70 championship matches with the Cretans and earning a move to Piraeus giants Olympiacos in July 2013. Bouchalakis would then spend the 2013/2014 on loan at Ergotelis before transferring to parent club Olympiacos.
In the next three seasons with Olympiacos, the 26-year-old would win three Super League titles and one Greek Cup, but he was often hampered by injuries. The disappointing end to the year spent with Nottingham Forest in England did little to raise his confidence, but since signing for Olympiacos in July 2018, Bouchalakis has been displaying the obvious potential which he possess.
Olympiacos head coach Pedro Martins immediately had faith in Bouchalakis. In the summer, Bouchalakis started all four UEFA Europa League qualifiers, even scoring the winning goal against Burnley at the Karaiskakis Stadium. Shielding the defence, Bouchalakis formed an excellent partnership with Mohamed Camara, as the Thrylos made a strong start to the season. Bouchalakis was also selected for the Greek national team in the UEFA Nations League in the closing months of 2018.
Guilherme has competed with Bouchalakis and Camara for a starting spot in the defensive midfielder position, but after a lull midway through the season, the Greek international has recently returned to top form for Olympiacos. In the 2:1 victory against Atromitos on March 31, Bouchalakis scored the winning goal in the 75th minute, and he had previously played 45 minutes in the dramatic 2:2 draw against Bosnia in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying. Bouchalakis has played in 17 out of 27 Super League matches.
Bouchalakis, similar to Olympiacos teammate Kostas Fortounis, has seemingly found his coach in Martins. If he continues giving calm, assured performances without glaring mistakes with Olympiacos, Bouchalakis can look forward to remaining a part of the Ethniki Omada as the European Championship qualifying campaign gathers pace. His value is currently rated at 1.25 million euros by Transfermarkt.