SLGR Matchday 25 Preview: Greek Football’s Most Famous Derby Headlines Play
AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis previews matchday 25 of the 2018/19 Greek SuperLeague.
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The derby of the eternal enemies is the highlighted fixtures in Matchday 25 of the 2018/19 Greek Super League. Olympiacos hosts Panathinaikos on Sunday evening in one of the most anticipated matches of the Greek football calendar.
It’s also third versus fourth on Sunday with Atromitos playing host to AEK. Elsewhere, PAOK’s title charge will receive a test in Agrinio against Panetolikos while important relegation battles will be contested in Crete and Giannina.
Below is a day-by-day breakdown of this weekend’s matches.
Asteras Tripolis - Lamia
Panetolikos - PAOK
PAS Giannina - Larisa
PAOK put their unbeaten record and seven-point lead atop the table on the line when they take on Panetolikos away on Saturday. The title appears to be within grasp for Razvan Lucescu’s men especially considering they do not have a match against a top six side the rest of the way. However, it could be a formidable test away to a Panetolikos side who remain in contention for fifth place, just four points behind Aris.
The late match of the day is also intriguing as PAS Giannina welcome Larisa. PAS occupy the relegation play-off spot, while Larisa sit four points above them. Despite a victory over Levadiakos last weekend, Larisa are by no means out of the woods yet. This should certainly be a tight affair.
The days begins in Tripoli as Asteras Tripolis host Lamia. Both teams are coming off draws last weekend. They both sit above the drop zone, though a victory this weekend would just about ensure safety for Lamia. A win for Asteras would be a massive boost for them as well and pull them level with Lamia in a tie for eighth.
OFI - Levadiakos
Atromitos - AEK
Panathinaikos - Olympiacos
Panionios - Xanthi
All eyes on Sunday will be on the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus as the biggest derby in Greek football takes center stage. The AGONAsport Match of the Week is undoubtedly Olympiacos taking on Panathinaikos. This derby has a different feeling to it than in years’ past. Normally, it’s these two clubs who are fighting it out at the top of the standings. However, in the last few season, both PAOK and AEK have risen and are challenging the status quo of the 2000s. Regardless, this should be a pulsating match-up on Sunday night. Olympiacos will be looking for the three points to take advantage of a potential PAOK slip-up. Panathinaikos meanwhile are in the midst of a poor run and would like nothing more than to snap out of it with a victory against their biggest rival.
Earlier in the day, Atromitos and AEK clash in a battle that could determine third place in the league. AEK are holding onto third spot by a point, but Atromitos look stronger in recent weeks and will fancy their chances at home. Both sides disappointed last weekend, AEK only coming away with a point in a dour draw against Panathinaikos while Atromitos went down easily 3-0 at PAOK.
Elsewhere, Panionios are desperate for points after a terrible run has seen them fall down toward the relegation zone. The Nea Smyrni side are at home to Xanthi this weekend, a club seemingly content to finish midtable.
OFI and Levadiakos meet in Heraklion. This could be the final chance for either side of remaining in the division. This is essentially a final as whoever loses will more than likely end up as one the relegated teams.
Aris - Apollon Smirnis
Monday’s lone encounter sees Aris await the arrival of Apollon Smirnis. Everything the rest of the way is purely about pride for Apollon, but for Aris the story is different. Assuming either PAOK or AEK win the Greek Cup, fifth in the standings will mean a European berth. Aris currently occupy that position and will want to keep their four point lead over Panetolikos intact.