The king has returned to his throne!
Olympiacos, after three years without celebrating a single title, are once again the champions of Greece as they managed to defeat AEK 1-2 at the Spyros Louis Stadium last Sunday and now the difference between them and PAOK, who are in second, cannot be covered in the remaining three rounds of the playoffs.
The manner in which the club made its return to the trophies has been nothing less than impressive, as they remain undefeated in a season where they’ve been forced to play against all of their rivals (including PAOK, AEK and Panathinaikos) a minimum of four times due to the introduction of the playoffs.
But Pedro Martins, working on the foundations that he himself laid out in the previous season, has created a team that is based on relentless running and pressure on the opponent’s half of the pitch.
The Portuguese gave a starring role to players who were considered mediocre at best, such as Jose Sa, Ousseynou Ba, Mady Camara, Andreas Bouchalakis, Giorgos Masouras and combined with the experience of Ruben Semedo, Guillherme, Matthieu Valbuena and the goal-machine that is Youssef El Arabi, developed a unit that far surpasses anything that could be expected of the short boundaries of Greek football.
It comes as no surprise that the Greek giants still remain within their European targets, as they will hope to advance to the final eight of the Europa League in the return game against the Wolverhampton Wanderers that will be played in early August.
Special credit should also be given to players that made their own impact to the club’s success but are no longer at Piraeus, such as Miguel Guerrero and Daniel Podence, or to the team’s skipper Kostas Fortounis, who although had to go through a very difficult injury at the start of the season, now appears ready to take up the captain’s role and lead his fellow players to greater success once again.
This is the 45th championship trophy for the Piraeus club, who began their ‘conquest’ back in 1931, during the days of the Adrianopoulos brothers and extended their dominance to the modern era with only short breaks during difficult financial periods for both the club and the country (such as the civil war).
With such an impressive array of titles, it comes as no surprise that the club are fourth on the list of most championship trophies in Europe, behind only Scotland’s Celtic (50 titles), Northern Ireland’s Linfield (53 titles) and fellow Scottish side Glasgow Rangers (54 titles).
Saturday 4 July
Sunday 5 July
1. Olympiacos 78
2. PAOK 59
3. AEK 56
4. Panathinaikos 47
5. Aris 38
6. OFI 35