Football fans in Greece have more than enough reasons to be excited as the Super League playoffs kick off this weekend!
After the government accepted the proposal of the Board Of Directors of the league, the teams have now intensified their preparations ahead of the first round that will start on Saturday with Aris welcoming OFI in Thessaloniki.
But the biggest game will undoubtedly be played one day later in the same city, when PAOK take on Olympiacos at Toumba.
The difference between the two teams on the board might be too wide to be covered – especially after the seven point reduction penalty that Ivan Savvidis team suffered due to the co-ownership scandal with Xanthi – but that doesn’t mean that the home side will face this game with indifference.
The champions will want to prove inside the pitch that they were indeed the better team, while they also have the added motivation of attempting to secure second place as AEK are now only one point behind them and maintain hopes of snatching the Champions League qualifier position from them.
The two clubs are not facing any injury concerns (besides the injured Douglas Augusto who will be unavailable for the rest of the season due to a ruptured hamstring) while players are highly anticipating the moment they will finally be able to step back into the field after an extended dry spell.
Besides the Toumba derby, there is also another very interesting match for the first round of the Super League playoffs, with AEK taking on Panathinanikos at the Olympic Stadium of Athens.
The black-and-yellows will look for the three points in order to keep the pressure on PAOK or potentially move beyond them on the ladder, while the visiting side seem to be more occupied with everything that’s going on inside their own squad, after it was made official that Giorgos Donis will not be their manager for the upcoming season.
As for the aforementioned game between Aris ad OFI, the home side are more invested on winning the Greek Cup, according to recent statements made by the club’s coach Michael Oenning, who recently renewed his contract with the team for a further season.
The Cretans continued their preparation for the game without Greek duo Kosmas Tsilianidis and Giannis Dermitzakis, who will not be making the trip to Thessaloniki due to injuries.
Meanwhile, a meeting was held on Wednesday (3 June) between the Super League president Minas Lisandrou, OFI vide-president Ilias Poursanidis and Greek sports minister Lefteris Avgenakis in order to discuss the matter of allowing access to fans inside the stadiums during the games.
GREEK SUPER LEAGUE PLAYOFFS ROUND ONE SCHEDULE
Saturday 6 June
9:30pm Aris – OFI
Sunday 7 June
7:30pm PAOK – Olympiacos
9:30pm AEK – Panathinaikos
GREEK SUPER LEAGUE TABLE
1. Olympiacos 66
2. PAOK 52
3. AEK 51
4. Panathinaikos 44
5. Aris 34
6. OFI 34
ROUND TWO SCHEDULE
Saturday 13 June
9:30pm Panathinaikos – PAOK
Sunday 14 June
7:15pm OFI – AEK
9:30pm Olympiacos – Aris