Special feature: Super League Interwetten 2020-21
Ο ΠΑΟΚ μπάίνει στη μάχη της Super League Interwetten 2020-21, με έναν και μοναδικό στόχο: την κατάκτηση του τίτλου. Απέναντί του 13 ομάδες, ανανεωμένες κι έτοιμες να παλέψουν. Το paokfc.gr σας παρουσιάζει όλα όσα πρέπει να ξέρετε για τους φετινούς συνδιεκδικητές της ομάδας μας για τον τίτλο του πρωταθλητή.
Faith in the coach’s plan
The club started last season with big dreams and ambitions, but at some point the team lost its way. With some big changes, a feeling of calm swept through the AEK camp, with the club claiming a place in the Greek Cup final.
The foundations are there, the coaching staff remains the same, and the gaps are gradually being filled with the climate at the ‘Union’ positive. The Yellow and Blacks want to be title contenders and work methodically to play good football, to be as ready as possible, to stay close to PAOK and Olympiakos from the start of the season, while at the same time look to secure a place in the Europa League group stage.
Carrera came to AEK in December with the club looking in bad shape. But through methodical work and faith in his plan, the Italian coach managed to reshape the team and inspire it to a third place finish and to the final of the Greek Cup.
The Yellow and Blacks had no reasons to make any changes in the dugout, and Carrera will have the opportunity to present a team all his own, which he has prepared together with Ilias Ivic.
Barkas, Oikonomou, Giakoumakis, Klonaridis, Hult, Vranjies and Araujo have all left. Their significant absences have left gaps that have mostly been filled, or are expected to be filled very soon. A lot will rest on the impact of newcomers such as central defender Hnid and Enobakare, a striker, while Insua and Ansarifard have also been drafted in to offer experience.
The lingering scenarios for the departures of key players such as Mandalos and Livaja means that AEK will still be anxious until the end of the transfer window. AEK has changed a lot, but it certainly has good players, it has maintained its playing philosophy, and the club is expected to be a strong contender.
Last year’s plan was to get into Europe. In the end, however, the club was satisfied with finishing ninth. This time round, once more the ambitions are lofty. Larissa want to break into the top six and this year the club seems to be in a much healthier position than in recent seasons.
It has kept hold of the coaching staff, and has made relatively few changes in the squad compared to last season, with a few quality additions to strengthen the team and support some new young players elevated from the youth academy. Larissa are aiming to build on the foundations it has laid, to develop its football and to fight until the end of the season for a place in Europe.
Last season he managed to achieve something that seemed… impossible. He completed a whole year of sitting in the ‘electric chair’ that is the Larissa dugout. The team’s competitive style is largely down to him and he won the trust of the management for the new season.
He has a wealth of experience in the Super League with tenures at Kerkyra, Atromitos and Panionios, and he is hoping to continue the upward course his career has taken in recent years.
Several players ended their chapters with Larissa this summer. The captain Moras, and the influential goalkeeper Kristinsson are gone, as well as loan players Warda and Kace, who also played a key role, and Balas, Golias, Gojkovic, and Stankovic.
There are many newcomers, all of which are of a different character. Bajic, Platellas, Glynos and Durmisaj come to the club with plenty of Super League experience, while Grigoropoulos, Maintanos, Stoinovic and Halatsis have arrived as promising prospects, and Trujic and Sparv are the two quality foreign additions. The squad is deep, Grigoriou has all the conditions to make an impact, and Larissa fans have every right to look ahead to the season with optimism.
They’re back and here to battle to stay here
The club had to wait around six months to find out in which league they would be playing in, but in the end they succeeded. Apollon Smyrnis is back in the Super League. The dreams and aspirations of the team are now focused on staying there and establishing themselves as a top flight side. The competition is strong, but the Athenian team seems determined to succeed.
Its disadvantages are the fact that the club has lost virtually the whole summer and is currently in the process of planning and adapting to the new situation, but no one can deprive the club of its right to hope and dream.
The Apollom management are hedging their bets on the vast experience of Giorgos Paraschos, the coach with the most top flight games under his belt.
He comes to Apollon for the second time in his career, aiming to put a poor season with Xanthi firmly behind him.
He knows how to keep a team in the top flight with a limited arsenal, and everyone in the Apollon camp is betting on that.
On the personnel front, nothing is certain. Until 15 days ago, Apollon Smyrnis was preparing with last year’s squad, or what was left of it. The club have been allowed to delay their start and will not play on the first three Matchdays so they can have time to prepare the team.
Lisgaras, Tsiloulis, Fernandes, Domingues, Tsiloulis, Kragiopoulos, Slivka, Dauda, Fatjon and Verhulst have signed so far, while there are already some good players with top flight experience in the squad in the shape of players such as Chouhoumis, Tsabouris, Blazic.
In the battle for Europe
Mission accomplished for another season at Aris. The Yellow and Blacks achieved their main goal in the 2019-20 season by qualifying for a shot at playing in Europe, and only missed out on a place in the Greek Cup final at the last hurdle by losing to AEK.
Maintaining the status quo will be the goal for Aris again this year. The club’s squad has changed a lot, with some key players leaving, while also bringing in some new quality players, but it remains to be seen if all the chopping and changing will work on the pitch
He is among a group of coaches who took on a job midway during last season and maintained their position by helping the improve drastically. The German has greatly improved Aris’ style of play, led him to Europe, and he wants to continue in that vein.
Oenning, together with Angelos Charisteas, will be the brains behind Aris once again this season.
The spine of the squad has been largely preserved with Cuesta, Rose, Delizisis, Sasha, Fetfatzidis, Bruno Gama and Mancini staying in Thessaloniki. There have been many departures, however. Velez, Diguiny, Larsson, Martinez, Indeye, Durmisaj, Souza, Tonso, Korhut, Menedez and Ba have all gone, while there have been nine arrivals.
Datkovic, Ganea, Sakic, Jeggo, Bertoglio, Lopez, Adem, Manos and Boucher, each with their own unique characteristics, have arrived to offer plenty of options to Oenning, who will have to find balance and chemistry in his team during the first half of the season.
This summer could be characterized in general as slightly… mad, but in the Asteras Tripolis camp it has been perhaps one of the calmest in recent times. The same coach, a steady spine of the squad intact, and a couple of good signings. Now hard work is needed to help keep the Arcadians away from mediocrity and the lower reaches of the Super League and return to the battle for a European place.
The club has undergone somewhat of a restart with its playing style, the squad has been strengthened, and the bar has been raised. Now it’s down to the players to show on the pitch that all the work that has been done has been worthwhile.
He has been in the dugout since last December. And under his guidance, Asteras Tripolis avoided being dragged into the relegation dogfight, while playing some good football in the process.
Rastavac earned the right to remain at the helm and in the new season he is aiming to lead the Arcadians into the upper reaches of the league standings, after picking up more than enough experience in the Greek football scene following two seasons previously at Xanthi.
Three Argentines, one Brazilian and two Spaniards. The transfer philosophy of the Arcadians ahs not changed much this summer, with the main investment going into the Latin element, only this time the additions were fewer, and and more targeted.
There were many departures, as an attempt was made to refresh what was a large squad. Papadopoulos, Pasalidis, Suarez, Tasoulis, Kotsiras, Valiente, Bellocq, Fernandez, Munafo, Iglesias, Barrales, Riera and Sito will provide the backbone, and with the addition also of some young players from the youth adacmy, the squad’s shape is looking positive.
Back to… the future
It’s a case of Back to the future for Atromitos for the new season. After last season’s disappointments, during which the team failed to finish in the top six, nor produce good football, the Peristeri club decided to turn to a figure who helped them achieve good things in the not-so-distant past: Damir Canadi.
Their goal is to return to the top six and try to win a place in Europe. The recipe they will aim to use is well-known, but it remains to be seen if they can recapture their old form.
Damir Canadi returns to the club he loves and is loved by with the objective of putting the team back in the position it was in when he left in his first spell.
After a disappointing season last year in the dugout of Nuremberg, the Austrian coach decided to return to Greece and Atromitos, to attempt a ‘restart’ and make the club competitive again.
The philosophy of the Peristeri side has not changed over the summer, with the incoming transfers being few but solid ones. Gianniotis returned to Greece, and Muniz moved to Athens, following an excellent season in Volos, while Agayev, Salomon, Galvao, Economidis and Tomasevic have arrived to try and make a difference.
Madson, who was consistently in the center, is sure to be missing, as is Megyeri’s confidence between the posts. Katranis moved to France and Kahila, De Pauw and Baena also all said goodbye to the club. The spine of Canadi’s squad has completely changed, and with it so to the atmosphere of the team, which is now looking up.
Aiming to repeat last year’s success
The successive promotions of previous years gave Volos their place in the top flight, and they enjoyed a comfortable first season. They are in the Super League Interwetten to stay, as they proved last season. The club’s administration are experts in the sport and they want to create a team that is competitive but also based on playing good football.
Their summer preparation was not ideal, with changes in faces and philosophy, and it remains to be seen how ready the team from Magnesia are come the start of the championship.
Volos was the first team to ring the coaching changes in the summer, replacing Sakis Tsiolis before the team’s official matches even began.
Angel Lopez was chosen to succeed him. The Spaniard may be only 37 years old but he already has a wealth of experience from positions as head coach at Huelva in Spain and Delfin in Ecuador.
There have been 14 departures, and 15 new signings. Volos has changed more than half of its squad, but has added quality and experience, filling the gaps in numbers. Now the question is how Angel Lopez will be able to find chemistry in his team in such a short period of time. However, there is quality there and if the team finds its way, it is capable of surprising everyone.
To keep on keeping on
Lamia elevated itself into Super League Interwetten life with the minimum of fuss and in recent years teh club has managed to establish itself. The team avoided relegation for the third consecutive season.
The management plan does not feature any dramatic changes, and the squad assembled seems ready to achieve the club’s goals. The only question mark is the inexperience of the coaching leadership.
His age definitely makes an impression. At just 32 years old, Petrakis does have a lot of experience with lower league teams, as well as Super League 2, having coached Chania and AE Karaiskaki. Petrakis won over the Lamia camp and he will lead the team in the new season.
The youngest coach in the league is out to prove that age is just a number. This is a big bet for Lamia that will be judged on the pitch.
There have not been many changes. Some important players such as Sassi, Wanderson and Pliatsikas left, while Saramantas, Provydakis, Palavandishvili and Chatzistravos, the latter who is on loan from PAOK, have arrived to offer quality.
Andejo, Vyntra, Niasse, Bejarano, Bouloulis, Romanic, Vilalba, Karamanos and Vasilogiannis will be the backbone of the team this season, with the familiar being the main weapon of the team from Fthiotida.
Out to retain the title
Last season saw Olympiacos get back to winning titles. Objectively speaking, they were a well-organised team that took advantage of everything they could both on and off the pitch, and managed to return to the top after three years. The management of the team decided to capitalize on the excellent seasons produced by some of its players in the form of outgoing transfer sales that have generated significant revenue.
The players who came during the transfer window have the experience to fill the gaps and it’s a given that the Red and Whites will be one of the main title contenders this season.
The architect of the Red and Whites’ success. He managed to overcome the crises in the 2018-19 season, retained his position, and brought his team back to the top by playing good, effective football. Martins will have the reins again this year and will try to fill the gaps made by the departures by finding chemistry in the squad again.
Tsimikas and Guilherme have already been sold, Elabdellaoui was released, there remain transfer scenarios doing the rounds for the likes of Sa, Semedo, and Kamara. The additions of Pepe, Kristinsson, Holevas, and Rafinha will bolster the team, but at first sight the Olympiacos roster seems weakened.
The evidence shows that Martins will again rely on Fortounis, Valbuena and El Arabi to carry the team, while a lot will depend on the final decisions regarding any remaining outgoing transfers and whether the coach will be able to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together to make his team produce what he wants on the pitch.
Looking to establish themselves in the upper class
OFI was the pleasant surprise of the 2019-20 season. A healthy club that produced good football with a clear plan that managed to reach the European places. With people in key positions who know the sport very well, and with an owner who has both the mood and money to support the project, OFI have been a breath of fresh air for the last 11 months.
The next step? Establishing themselves and evolving, of course. OFI has retained its coaching staff, the core of the squad, as well as its philosophy, and the team is hoping that in 2021 it will be celebrating even greater successes.
In his first season in the dugout, he proved that the future belongs to him. Simos produced an excellent body of work at OFI. His team played good football, and returned to the European places after a lengthy absence.
Simos now wants to repeat that success. He has the full support of the club’s management, and all parties at the Cretan club continue to work and develop the OFI project.
The main core of the squad was maintained, with only the departures consisting of Koutroubis, Brown, Semedo and Mano. The club’s moves in the transfer market were highly-targeted, and with an eye on the future. The young Diamantis and Gargalatzidis have arrived from PAOK, Grivas from Panionios and Weiss from Platanias were brought in from the domestic market, while Sardinero, Vouros, Waterman and Selimovic came from Cyprus. Mellardo signed until 2024, while Solis joined on loan from Boca Juniors.
Simos had a lot of work in the summer to do in the summer and everyone is expecting a strong OFI side that will continue to impress this season.
New philosophy, aiming for Europe
The 2019-20 season concluded on a positive note. Despite the limited means at his disposal, George Donis produced a competitive team, which eventually managed to finish in 4th place. Punishment from UEFA meant that Panathinaikos could not return to European competitions, while there was also a change in the technical leadership.
The ownership of the club decided to change its policy and give the technical director, Xavi Roca, a respectable budget for new additions. The signs are that Panathinaikos will be an improved proposition with more quality and experience. Their goal is to win a place in Europe.
After a long tenure as coach of the Espanyol academy setup, but also of Real Madrid’s Under-19 side and serving alongside Jordi Cruyff at Maccabi Tel Aviv, Dani Poyatos accepted the Trifylli’s proposal and is leading a club for the first time.
His resume may not be impressive, but he comes highly recommended are the Greens are putting a lot of faith in his abilities.
The playbook was torn up, and the policy changed. Panathinaikos dipped into the transfer market to improve its squad. Aitor, Velez, Xavier, Villafanez, Sanchez and Juankar were acquired as free agents, while there were a lot of departures with Nunez, Insua, Johansson, Vagianidis, Kolovetsios, Zahid and Anwar all leaving. At the same time, several of the academy players were promoted, while Macheda decided to stay and the roster now looks much stronger.
Aiming to avoid relegation misadventures
Last season was somewhat of a horror movie for Panetolikos. The club spent most of the season in the relegation zone, but a superhuman effort in the final stretch managed to save their skins.
The team’s philosophy has not changed. An emphasis on combining young players from the academy with quality foreign players helps to make up a decent squad with plenty of options, and if the coach manages to find chemistry with the players, then the club will achieve its goals.
He is now in his third spell in Agrinio. He returned to the cub last October, taking the reins with the club in bad shape, but he battled manfully well and managed to keep the team in the top flight.
The Panetolikos management extended his contract as a reward, and he is now the longest-serving coach in the history of the club .
Medina, Mazzola, Mendoza and Pereyra have arrived from the other side of the Atlantic, while Karasalidis, Melissas, and Vanderson are the new arrivals from the Super League. Several youngsters have been promoted from the Under-19 side and Mazurek is back. Panetolikos has done some serious work in the transfer market, and the club seems to have strengthened significantly in view of the new season.
Kyriakidis, Rosa, Bairovic, Mimito, Martial, Dauda, Mounier and Lucero will definitely be missed, but the squad is looking clearly improved versus 2019-20, and Chavos has many solutions at its disposal.
Back in the big time and hoping to stay
The club justified its tag as favorites for promotion from last year’s Super League 2 championship by winning the title and is back at the top table of Greek football.
The team from Ioannina are back in the top flight after a one-year absence and are aiming to stay there. The club has plenty of knowhow, with a good group of players, and has also retained the same coaching set-up. Additionally, the squad has been strengthened with incoming transfers and the optimism is abundant in the camp of the Epirus club.
A Greek-German born in Germany, he laid the foundations of his coaching career in Karlsruhe, which he served in various positions, reaching the role of assistant coach. He worked as head coach at Rot-Weiss Essen and Aalen, before joining PAS Giannis in the summer of 2019.
In Epirus his work has left an excellent impression. The team won automatic promotion and the management decided to give Giannikis the opportunity to lead the team in the Super League.
The departures of Nikolias, Shergelashvili, Skondras, Peristeridis, Boukouvalas and Apostolopoulos have left significant gaps to be filled. But PAS was very active in the transfer market and has already acquired Saliaka, Dominguez, Peersman, Kargas, Erramuspe, Natynchik and Kuzyk, players who will raise the bar for the Ioannina-based club, and in combination with the existing spine of the team in Choutesiotis, Pantelakis, Kartalis, Naumets, Pamlidis, Krizman and Leo, makes up a squad that may be able to even break into the top half of the table.