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Greek 1st Division League analysis by Filippos Kotsaftis
(Season begins on the 23rd of September 2001.)
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Last 5 years, always win the championship. Their fans want desperately a success in Champions League and the president Mr. Kokkalis
ask the same from the coach, Takis Lemonis. Big stars in the squad (Giovanni, Karembeu, Ze Elias, Bermudez) but not very good defence.
In Greece will be definetely be in the 1st or 2nd place, but in Europe the things are difficult after the draw (Man.Utd, Deportivo La Coruna,
Lille). Especially because Olympiakos is unable to take results far from Athens.
Prediction: 1st-3rd

The opposite with Olympiakos: Everybody in the club, want the championship. Coach Kyrastas said that the 1st target is the championship and
the team will try just to have some good games in Europe (group with Arsenal, Schalke, Mallorca). Panathinaikos will be better than last
year (was 2nd) and will challenge Olympiakos for the title, because invested in some key-players: Konstantinou (attack), Kolkka (left winger),
Michaelsen (right winger). In the Athens side say that it will be a failure if Panathinaikos don't win the title.
Prediction: 1st-3rd

Maybe the surprise, mainly because of the trainer Fernando Sandos. Is the first trainer after many years in AEK, that have respect from players,
fans and press. Also, they have Gamarra in defence and the best greek striker, Demis Nikolaidis. AEK had some very good performances in greek cup
and they can reach a champions league place next year.
Prediction: 2nd-3rd

The big financial problems of the president, mr Batatoudis, forced him to sell one of the best players, Stelios Venetidis to Olympiakos and also
Nalitzis (usually a substitute) to Udinese. PAOK have homogeneity and this will be their big weapon. Also, signed a very much better goalkeeper
than Tochuroglou, Vangelis Pourliotopoulos. No hopes for championship, the 4th place is the most probable for Salonica's team.
Prediction: 4th-5th

Iraklis lost the best player the club ever had for years: Michalis Konstantinou. Instead, signed from Panathinaikos a very good goalkeeper (Halkias)
and two useful players: Nassiopoulos (the man who scored for Panathinaikos in Hamburg last year) and Koutsoures.
Prediction: 5th-7th

Almost the same squad with last year, but a big difference: Henry Michel on the bench, instead of Tennes. Aris haven't lost any key player and
signed some good: Chiba and Prilasnik. Also dispose one big greek hope in attack, Angelos Charisteas.
Prediction: 4th-7th

The last season was very bad for OFI. After many-many years, they were in great danger for relagation until the last day. They dropped out some
players that were something like civil servants (e.g. Alexoudis, Marinakis, Pavlopoulos, Da Silva and more) and they hope for something better
this year. I doubt for it. It's difficult to be so bad again, but i don't see a big improvement.
Prediction: 8th-10th

Always a good county team. This year they will try to make a European Qualification, but this is not very easy for them. Tough home for every team,
but not very good away. They lost a very good player, Janocko (signed for Austria Wienna) and i don't think that Uakili can replace him. Very good
defence (and Bucek, a fantastic goalkeeper) but very poor attack.
Prediction: 7th-10th

The team that made the most transfers in the League. This is not very good, as the new players (the most of them foreigners) will have problems
until they adapt. Also, Ionikos lost the best forward that the team ever had (Brewster went to Hibs) and a very good playmaker, Cobayashi.
Experienced team but i believe that will be worst than last year.
Prediction: 8th-11th

The team with the most eccentric president in Greece: Mr Beos. He anticipated to sack his manager (Cuusela) before the league begin, because of
some bad results in the Cup. But the same team, impressed Greece in the summer with some very good results in Italy: draws 1-1 to Roma (90'),
0-0 to Parma (45') and win 1-0 to Fiorentina (45'). Big transfers, big expectations. It would be a failure if the team don't reach a european place.
Prediction: 6th-9th

Another county team, that every year try to avoid relagation. It would be the same for this year! No big changes in the team (Cobayashi maybe can
make the difference, but they lost Kordonouris, a good defender) and a major problem in the centre of defence.
Prediction: 11th-13th

If Panionios has the most eccentric president, Asteras has (by far) the most eccentric trainer, mr Alefandos. Experienced team but without any other targets,
except of avoiding relagation. As usual, they don't have a classic striker, so there will be a problem in scoreing again.
Prediction: 11th-14th

The champions of the last 2nd division. A very young, without many foreigners and unexperienced (but very ambitius) side, that don't play in their
home ground! Their stadium is improper for 1st division matches, so they will play in the neighbor stadium of Proodeftiki (2nd division). This will be
definetely a disadvantage for them, but i have to note that neither last season played in their nature ground. It's a questionmark, but not the worst
team in the league.
Prediction: 11th-12th

The other newly promoted team. They will play for the first time in their history, in the 1st division. Their coach (Stathopoulos) is good for lower divisions,
but not for the 1st. I believe that he will soon get sacked. Already the cup performances are very bad. They bet a lot to Borrelli but i don't think that
one player is enough to save the whole team.
Prediction: 13th-14th

  • The greek league is the only in Europe (maybe in the world) that 20 days before the kickoff, the teams don't know how it is going to carry on:
    From the period 2002-2003, the teams will be again 16 but it dubious if the relagated teams will be one or two (respectively the promoted teams
    three or four). This will be decided on Tuesday. I'll let you know about.
  • There is a big probability, that Greece have from the period 2002-2003, 3 teams in Champions League. It depends on the results of greek teams
    in Europe this year. The sure thing is that next period, Greece will have 4 teams in UEFA Cup (one from the Cup) instead of two this season.