Round 18 of the Greek Super League features the major game between PAOK and AEK at Toumba.
The home side, who suffered a heavy loss last weekend at the hands of Aris -putting an end to their 51-game unbeaten run- will look for an emphatic win in order to demonstrate that they still remain one of the greatest contenders for the title.
Manager Able Ferreira will wait until the last minute to see if he can depend on the services of his defender Angel Crespo, who hasn’t fully recovered from his leg injury yet, while Brazilian duo Leo Matos and Douglas Augusto have both returned to full fitness.
But the Enosi won’t be content with a secondary role in the encounter and will look to reduce the difference between them and their opponents to six points in what will be new manager Massimo Carrera’s first important test at the helm of the club.
Portuguese striker Nelson Oliveira has resumed training after missing the last couple of matches due to an injury and is fired up for his team’s crucial match.
Olympiacos will also be keeping a watchful eye on the events unfolding at Toumba, as a PAOK loss or a draw could potentially allow them to break away even further from their opponents, provided of course that they have managed to claim all three points form Lamia.
Their task won’t be easy as Pedro Martins is dealing with several key absences due to injuries, with the names of Daniel Podence and Guillherme being the most notable among them.
On the flip side of the coin is the return to full form of winger Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, who also managed to score his first goal in the mid-week game against Kalamata for the Greek Cup, and team captain Kostas Fortounis who has also begun training with the rest of the team and is only a matter of time until he enters the pitch.
As for the heroes of last weekend, Aris, they will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to extend their winning streak in central Greece against AEL who is known to be a formidable opponent for most teams at home, while Panathinaikos will look to leave their string of negative results behind them, by combining a win with a good performance hosting bottom-of-the-table Panionios.
Meanwhile, during the week the first few matches of the Greek Cup’s round of 16 were held, with PAOK winning 0-3 against OFI in Crete, Atromitos having little trouble in Volos against the local side (0-3) and Olympiacos putting two past Kalamata.
GREEK CUP ROUND OF 16 RESULTS
OFI-PAOK 0-3 (24′ Limnios, 32′ Biseswar, 64′ Akpom)
Volos-Atromitos 0-3 (2′ Goutas, 63′, 76′ Vellios)
Kalamata-Olympiacos 0-2 (6′ Randjelovic, 53′ Christodoulopoulos)
Giannena-Panathinaikos 1-0 (29′ Pamlidis)
Asteras Tripolis-AEK post.
GREEK SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 18 SCHEDULE
Saturday 11 January
5:30 pm Volos-Xanthi
7:30 pm AEL-Aris
8:00 pm Panetolikos-Atromitos
Sunday 12 January
3:00 pm Asteras Tripolis-OFI
5:15 pm Lamia-Olympiacos
7:30 pm Panathinaikos-Panionios
7:30 pm PAOK-AEK