Let the Greek Superleague season begin...
(Matchday 1 Preview)
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 1
|Date||Home Team||Time (EST)||Away Team|
|19-Aug-17||Asteras Tripolis||12:15 PM||PAS Giannina|
|21-Aug-17||Atromitos||2:30 PM||Apollon Smyrnis|
The 2017/18 Greek Super League season kicks off this weekend with a full slate of matches. This is the 82nd season of top-flight football in Greece and the 12th campaign of it being known as the Greek Super League.
Olympiacos seek their 8th straight league title, but are expected to be given a challenge by the likes of PAOK, AEK, and Panathinaikos. It would be a big surprise if a team outside ‘the Big 4’ could launch and ultimately sustain a title bid, though Panionios last season did surprise and only fell away in the last few games of the season.
Matchday 1 of the Super League begins on Saturday with two early matches. Xanthi enter the new campaign hoping to get back into the playoffs after just missing out last season. The club will have new manager Milan Rastovac in the dugout as they host newly promoted Lamia. Babis Tennes’ side will be making a historic debut as they prepare to play their first game ever in the first division.
Also on Saturday, Asteras Tripolis welcome PAS Giannina. Asteras suffered through a disastrous campaign that saw them nearly relegated while PAS Giannina last season began in red-hot form, but were poor in the second half of the season. After disappointing seasons, both clubs will be aiming to start well.
The AGONAsport Game of the Week is Saturday’s late kick-off between defending champions Olympiacos and Larisa. Olympiacos’ main goal of the summer has been getting back to the Champions’ League under new coach Besnik Hasi. A dramatic 2-1 home win over Rijeka gives the Erythrolefki a slim advantage ahead of next week’s second leg in Croatia. Olympiacos have strengthened this summer and appear to have rebuilt their midfield with the signings of Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe, Guillaume Gillet, and Panagiotis Tachtsidis. Whether they have enough in defense and attack to sustain a potential Champions’ League campaign while remaining the top dog on the domestic front remains to be seen. Larisa’s return to the SuperLeague last season saw the Vissini experience a pretty poor campaign. They did manage to avoid the drop, but only just. There are real questions whether manager Andre Paus can make an improvement on last season.
On Sunday, four matches are on tap. The quartet of fixtures begins with AEK taking on Panetolikos at the empty Olympic Stadium in Athens. AEK will begin a stadium ban that came about thanks to crowd trouble at last season’s Greek Cup final against PAOK. Manolo Jimenez’s side are coming off a good result in Belgium on Thursday night as they managed a 0-0 draw against Club Brugge in the 1st leg of their Europa League Play-off. Avoiding relegation will certainly be the main aim of Panetolikos this season so a point would be a decent result.
Panionios will find it difficult to repeat their superb campaign from last season. They face a tricky opening match away to Kerkyra where new boss Michalis Grigoriou comes up against his old side. Kerkyra achieved safety very early last season and will seek to do exactly that again with Dimitris Eleftheropoulos at the helm.
PAOK have already made a coaching change ahead of their trip to Levadiakos on Sunday. Aleksandar Stanojevic was given the boot after just 56 days of an underwhelming preseason and in his place is former Xanthi boss Razvan Lucescu. Levadiakos are looking to improve on last season’s 14th place finish under new French coach Jose Anigo.
Panathinaikos begin their season with a trip to Crete to take on Platanias. It is a difficult match-up for Marinos Ouzounidis’ team. The Prasini did well for an hour against Athletic Bilbao on Thursday evening in their Europa League Play-off encounter. However, at 2-0 up they suffered a blackout and within six minutes the Spaniards had turned the game on its head going up 2-3 and seeing it out. A European spot seems a realistic aim for a Platanias side that appears to be on an upward swing.
Finally, on Monday Atromitos and Apollon Smyrnis do battle. Apollon are a newly promoted side who will fancy their chances of staying up as they return to the top-flight after a four-year hiatus. Atromitos have hired veteran Austrian manager Damir Canadi in the hopes he can lead the club back to a top six place.
For full TV listings of matchday 1 of the Greek Superleague check here. You can watch all the action in the Greek SuperLeague with the AGONAsport TV Premium monthly package or with a limited 1-day, 2-Day, 3-Day, or 7-day package. Details here.