Greek Cup to decide European fate of fifth-placed team
At the moment, Aris are in pole position to finish in fifth as they boast a six-point advantage over sixth-placed Panathinaikos, but it still might not be enough to qualify for the 2019/2020 UEFA Europa League. AGONAsport investigates.
The race for Europe is reaching its climax. After 23 rounds, Aris confidently occupy fifth place of the Super League, and they’re only six points behind AEK and Atromitos. Aris have made it clear that their goal is qualifying for the Europa League, but if either Lamia or Asteras Tripolis win the Greek Cup, fifth position of the Super League will not grant a European berth for the 2019/2020 season.
Nevertheless, AEK and PAOK are the two main favourites to hoist aloft the Greek Cup, and if one of those two clubs do win the competition, the team in fifth place of the Super League will enter the 2019/2020 Europa League in the second qualifying phase. It would also mean that the team in third position of the championship joins the Europa League in the third stage of qualifying, and not the second. Atromitos currently sit in third.
In the event that Lamia or Asteras taste Greek Cup glory, the cup winner will be given a place in the third qualifying round of the Europa League, while the teams in third and fourth positions of the Super League would have to begin their European campaign in the same competition in the second phase of qualification.
Given the status of AEK and PAOK, there’s isn’t a high possibility of Lamia or Asteras winning the Greek Cup, but anything is possible. Giant-killers Lamia have already dumped Panathinaikos and Olympiacos out of the tournament in dramatic circumstances, while Asteras can challenge the best on their day and are certainly no pushovers. The draw for the semi-finals is set for Friday, March 8th.
If Panathinaikos can overtake Aris and move into fifth place, the Greens wouldn’t be allowed to compete in Europe due to a UEFA ban, but they would then be eligible to qualify for continental competition based upon results of the 2019/2020 season. The team in sixth place of the 2018/2019 Super League would consequently qualify for the Europa League if AEK or PAOK win the Greek Cup.