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Season review: Greece

Published: Thursday 29 May 2014, 9.42CET
Olympiacos FC eased to their fourth successive Super League title and 16th in the last 18 years, with cup honours going to their fierce rivals Panathinaikos FC.
by Vassiliki Papantonopoulou
from Athens
Season review: Greece
Olympiacos were once again too strong for the rest in Greece ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Thursday 29 May 2014, 9.42CET

Season review: Greece

Olympiacos FC eased to their fourth successive Super League title and 16th in the last 18 years, with cup honours going to their fierce rivals Panathinaikos FC.

Olympiacos FC cantered to their 41st Greek title, their rivals becoming a distant speck in the rear-view mirror. They also caught the eye on the European stage with their 2-0 first-leg defeat of Manchester United FC in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 before a 3-0 reverse in the Old Trafford return. Despite offloading their most experienced players, Panathinaikos FC went on to lift the Greek Cup and pip PAOK FC to the second UEFA Champions League berth.

Champions: Olympiacos FC
The Piraeus team continued their dominance of Greek football by winning the Super League – their 16th championship in 18 years – with five matches to spare. Under the guidance of coach Míchel, Olympiacos began the season all guns blazing, striker Kostas Mitroglou in prolific form and Costa Rica winger Joel Campbell impressing on the right flank. Back-to-back victories over main rivals Panathinaikos (1-0 away) and PAOK (4-0 at home) in November stamped their authority on the campaign. They had a minor hiccup in early March – losing for the first time in 48 domestic games and again the following week – but their crown was all but secured.

Cup final: Panathinaikos FC 4-1 PAOK FC
Panathinaikos made light work of what looked on paper to be a difficult assignment, Marcus Berg scoring a hat-trick and Nikos Karelis a header as the Greens landed their first piece of silverware since completing the domestic double in 2010.

European places*
Olympiacos FC – UEFA Champions League group stage
Panathinaikos FC – UEFA Champions League third qualifying round
PAOK FC – UEFA Europa League play-offs
Atromitos FC – UEFA Europa League third qualifying round
Asteras Tripoli FC – UEFA Europa League second qualifying round
*subject to final confirmation from UEFA

Player of the Year: Marcus Berg (Panathinaikos FC)
Had Mitroglou not moved to Fulham FC in January he would have been heading this category, but there is no denying that Berg stood out all term long. Apart from his aforementioned Greek Cup heroics, the Swedish international notched 15 goals and provided nine assists in the top division, play-offs included, in helping the Athens club claim a place in 2014/15 UEFA Champions League qualifying. His finishing, pace and strength, along with his quick brain and spirit, inspired a youthful squad.

One to watch: El Fardou Ben Nabouhane (Veria FC)
Ben was unknown to Greek fans when he arrived at modest Veria from French outfit Vannes OC last summer. That is not the case now, however, the forward having almost single-handedly kept his side among Greece's elite with 15 of Veria's 31 top-flight goals. The 24-year-old Comorian is sure to be on the radar of Greece's biggest outfits.

Surprise package: Kalloni FC
Kalloni overcame all manner of hardship in their maiden Super League season. Their home ground on the island of Mytilini was judged inadequate for top-tier matches, meaning they spent nine months as nomads, playing home games in Athens or Salonika. However, they survived rather comfortably, finishing 12th under the guidance of experienced tactician Giannis Mantzourakis.

Leading scorer: Esteban Solari, Xanthi FC (16)

Relegated: Aris Thessaloniki FC, Apollon Smyrnis FC

Promoted: Niki Volou FC, Kerkyra FC

Number: 17
The points difference between Olympiacos and runners-up PAOK at the end of the regular season – a Greek record, surpassing the 16-point margin separating Panathinaikos and Olympiacos at the conclusion of the 1994/95 campaign.

Quote
"I would like to dedicate this title to our players, our fans and to the coaches of the rest of the teams, who are not as lucky as I am to be working at such a big club as Olympiacos."
Olympiacos coach Míchel counts his blessings during the championship celebrations.

Last updated: 11/06/14 23.36CET

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