SLGR Matchday 30 Preview: Action At The Bottom Tops Interest In Final Weekend
AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis previews matchday 30 of the 2018/19 Greek SuperLeague.
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The 2018/19 Greek Super League season draws to a close this weekend with Matchday 30 and the final round of fixtures. PAOK ended their 34-year wait for a league title in the last round and with all the Champions’ League and Europa League places set, the real focus is at the bottom of the table. There, three teams, Asteras Tripolis, OFI, and PAS Giannina, are fighting to avoid the final two relegation places (one directly relegated team and one relegation playoff).
Below is a match-by-match breakdown of this weekend’s final round.
PAS Giannina - PAOK
The AGONAsport Match of the Week is one of the few this weekend where both teams have something riding on the result. For hosts PAS Giannina, there is only one way to have a shot at survival and that is to win. Three points against PAOK could see PAS achieve safety or at least make the relegation playoff. Newly-crowned champions PAOK meanwhile will be seeking to avoid defeat to ensure they become just the second team in Greek league history to finish an entire campaign undefeated.
Asteras Tripolis - Panionios
It’s pretty clear for Asteras, defeat Panionios and clinch survival in the Super League. Failure to do so against Panionios on Sunday will mean other results could drag Asteras down. Panionios were in the relegation conversation up until a month ago. Now, after a solid run of form, they are in sixth place and will finish there with a victory in Tripoli.
Atromitos - OFI
Assuming AEK fail to win in Levadia, Atromitos could pick up third position with a home win against OFI. The Crete club will have motivation of their own however, as they do everything they can to remain in the division. OFI currently occupy the relegation playoff place. Failure to win in Peristeri means that OFI could be looking at automatic relegation depending on other results.
Levadiakos - AEK
AEK need a victory against Levadiakos at the weekend to ensure a third place finish in the table. Last season’s champions took a stumble this season, but could still finish the season well should they claim third in the league and win the Greek Cup. Levadiakos have long been relegated and are set for life in next season’s Super League 2.
Larisa - Olympiacos
A victory over AEK last time out assured Larisa a place in next season’ top-flight. So, there may be a celebratory atmosphere at the AEL FC Arena. Larisa’s opponents this week are Olympiacos. Resigned to finish second now that PAOK have clinched, the Piraeus club have gone on a solid run and are already looking forward to next season.
Aris - Xanthi
Aris supporters will have the opportunity to show their appreciation as their club host Xanthi. The club’s faithful must be ecstatic that in their first season being promoted, the team have snapped up a continental place. Xanthi go to Thessaloniki with the understanding that they are already safe. Thus, this final match of the campaign will not be as tense as it might have been before the last matchday.
Panathinaikos - Panetolikos
Panathinaikos host Panetolikos at the Olympic Stadium A nine-point deduction greatly hurt Giorgos Donis’ men in their quest for a European spot. The Prasini can still finish as high as eighth with late. Panetolikos will look to bid farewell to Traianos Dellas, the manager who is stepping down from his post after this final game.
Apollon Smirnis - Lamia
It’ll be all about pride in this round’s lone Saturday match. It could be an interesting game with so little on the line. A Lamia win could see the team finish as high as seventh, which would be a respectable feat for the club.