Xanthi and Asteras Tripolis to battle it out for final European spot
Xanthi and Asteras Tripolis will fight for 5th place in this year’s Greek SuperLeague, which leads to a place in next season’s UEFA Europa League.
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With two matches remaining in the Greek SuperLeague, the fight for Greece’s final European spot is heating up. Xanthi and Asteras Tripolis, who are now tied on 39 points for 5th place, are the front runners after the Thracian side fell victim to a PAOK comeback on Sunday while Asteras Tripolis comfortably defeated relegation bound Kerkyra.
In addition, Panionios fell to Panathinaikos and Levadiakos were defeated by AEK over the weekend, results that benefited Xanthi and Asteras Tripolis. Trailing both Xanthi and Asteras Tripolis, are Panetolikos and Panathinaikos, who sit with 35 points, while Panionios and Levadiakos are tied with 34 points.
Seeing that Xanthi and Asteras Tripolis hold a four point advantage over their closest contenders, the two clubs are expected to fight for one final European spot for the 2018/19 season. Despite both teams sitting tied with 39 points, Asteras Tripolis currently hold the advantage as they have a significantly better goal differential than Xanthi, +12 compared to -1. The two sides played to two draws during the SuperLeague season, thus overall goal differential will be the deciding tie-breaker if the clubs finish tied on points at the end of the fixtures.
At a glance, the Arkades have an easier schedule as they will host an indifferent Apollon Smyrnis (have secured safety) and will travel to Agrinio to face Panetolikos. Xanthi will play host to an indifferent Larissa (have secured safety) before traveling to Athens to play Panathinaikos on the final matchday of the season.
The team that manages to finish fifth in the Greek SuperLeague will qualify for next season's UEFA Europa League 2nd qualifying round, which will begin in late July. There, they will likely join Atromitos, who currently sit in fourth spot in the standings, four points behind third placed Olympiacos, who are destined to start in the UEFA Europa League 3rd qualifying round.
Newly crowned champions, AEK, and current runner-ups, PAOK, will enjoy Champions League football next season begin their journey in the qualifying rounds.