As match-day 4 approaches for both of the UEFA tournaments, Champions League and Europa League, the opportunity to secure a ticket to the next round begins to diminish. There are only three games left in the group stage, so all six Greek clubs are now in must-win mode having gone 1-1-4 for the second straight match-day in a row. All of the clubs are still technically alive on paper, but some of them are on life support heading into the second half of this round. For a detailed explanation of each tournament and its current format, please see my other article ‘Greek Clubs Qualify for UEFA Tournaments’.
On match-day 3, Olympiacos took on Italian-side Juventus at home in Greece. After the Greek club scored the first and only goal of the match in the 36th minute, Olympiacos found themselves on the defensive as Juventus kept rocketing shots at the goal for the remainder of the game. Thirteen of Juventus’ 17 attempts on goal came in the second half, but the onslaught from Juventus was held in check by superb play from the Olympiacos goalkeeper, Roberto – whom I can’t praise enough. He had seven total saves during the game, with six of them coming during the second half assault. Olympiacos will be travelling to Italy for a rematch with Juventus on match-day 4. With wins at home over Atletico de Madrid and Juventus by scores of 3-2 and 1-0 respectively, the Greek club from Piraeus is proving their worth in Champions League – but it will be a difficult feat to find similar results against those same clubs on the road. Olympiacos’ only remaining home game is against Swedish side Malmo, whom they lost to by a score of 0-2 on match-day 2.
Group A Standings:
6 pts – Olympiacos
6 pts – Atletico de Madrid
3 pts – Juventus
3 pts – Malmo FF
On match-day 3, the Cypriot club took on French-side Paris Saint Germain and lost by a score of 0-1. The match was very close, as it took 87 minutes for the first and only goal to be scored by the French club. APOELS’s defense was very tight for the majority of the game and they were relying primarily on counter-attacks to score, but none of their seven attempts on goals were successful. With only 1 point earned in their first three matches (1 tie and 2 losses), APOEL will need some luck to fall on their side if they hope to advance – not only are the other teams in their group juggernauts, but only one of their remaining three games is at home. For their next match, APOEL travel to France for a rematch with Paris Saint Germain.
Group F Standings:
7 pts – Paris St. Germain
6 pts – FC Barcelona
2 pts – AFC Ajax
1 pts – APOEL Nicosia
For the second straight Europa League match, Apollon was shut out and lost by a large margin. On match-day 3, the Cypriot club took on German-side Monchengladbach and lost by a score of 0-5. It was truly a one-sided affair as Monchengladbach not only won the possession 63-37%, but they had 25 attempts on goal compared to only nine from Apollon. With this defeat, Apollon now has a -9 goal differential which takes away their chance to advance on a tie-breaker. They will need to win at least two of their final three games for a chance to move on, and luckily two of those games are at home. They take on Monchengladbach again in their net match, but this time at home in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Group A Standings:
7 pts – Villarreal
5 pts – Borussia Monchengladbach
3 pts – Apollon
1 pts – FC Zurich
On match-day 3, the Greek club from Tripoli took on an opponent that proved to be too much for them to handle. Asteras lost to English-side Tottenham by a score of 1-5, and their only goal came from a set-piece against a defender playing goalie after the English club’s goalkeeper was ejected with red card. The score makes the match out to be worse than it actually was because the possession and attempt on goal between the two clubs were very close – but what counts are goals and Asteras was unable to finish like Tottenham did. This game was also loaded with a lot of highlight reel action, but unfortunately it all came from the English side. Tottenham’s Harry Kane scored a hat-trick while Erik Lamela had the other two goals, one of them being a ‘Rabona’ finish where the player’s kicking leg wraps around the back of the standing leg to strike the ball. See the play unfold here, or in slow motion here (Warning: Both are external links to YouTube). Asteras will take on Tottenham again on match-day 4, but this time at home in Tripoli.
Group C Standings:
5 pts – Tottenham Hotspur
5 pts – Besiktas JK
4 pts – Asteras Tripolis
1 pts – FK Partizan
On match-day 3, Panathinaikos took on Dutch-side PSV Eindhoven and tied the match, 1-1, giving the Greek club their first point in the standings. PSV’s Depay scored right before the first half ended to give the Dutch club a 1-0 lead. They would maintain that lead for most of the game, but Nikos Karelis played hero and scored the equalizer for Panathinaikos with only three minutes left in the game. Panathinaikos thus far has been disappointing in Europa League, but they still have a decent chance to advance from the group stage – despite only having one point. They’re back in Athens on match-day 4 for a rematch with PSV Eindhoven.
Group E Standings:
9 pts – Dinamo Moskva
4 pts – PSV Eindhoven
3 pts – Estoril Praia
1 pts – Panathinaikos
On match-day 3, PAOK lost at home to Italian-side Fiorentina by a score of 0-1. This is the second straight Europa League loss for PAOK and the window of opportunity for them to advance out of the group stage is closing. The time of possession was split down the middle in a game that saw plenty of attempts on goal from both sides; 19 from PAOK and another 13 from Fiorentina. Even with the all-out effort and a series of attempts from striker Athanasiadis in the second half, it didn’t seem likely that PAOK would score an equalizer on Fiorentina’s tightened up defense. PAOK will travel to Italy on match-day four to take on Fiorentina again. PAOK only has one home game remaining so they will have to pull off an upset on the road if they are expecting to move on to the next stage in the tournament.
Group K Standings:
9 pts – ACF Fiorentina
4 pts – EA Guingamp
3 pts – PAOK
1 pts – FC Dinamo Minsk
Upcoming Match-Day 4 Schedule
Olympiacos at Juventus: Tuesday, November 4
APOEL at Paris: Wednesday, November 5
Apollon v Monchengladbach: Thursday, November 6
Asteras Tripolis v Tottenham: Thursday, November 6
Panathinaikos v PSV Eindhoven: Thursday, November 6
PAOK at Fiorentina: Thursday, November 6
You can always visit the Greek Soccer Standings page on my web site for updated standings of all the soccer teams related to Greece that are currently competing, both club and national.