Super League Greece
Panathinaikos Athens. The sleeping giants of Greek Football seem to have woken up after a decade long nap. The acquisition of manager Ivan Jovanovic a year ago was seen as a downgrade and a panic signing of someone who perhaps was ‘not qualified’ for the job. The Serbian coach, who managed to take APOEL FC to the quarter finals of the Champions League a decade ago, commanded discipline in his new role, winning the Greek Cup in his first year in charge. This year, Panathinaikos remain undefeated in the league sitting on 13 wins and 3 draws, while only conceding six goals.
The Greek side boast some familiar names with English fans, starting with former Middlesbrough striker Andraz Sporar leading the line and scoring a lot of crucial goals for the club. Another familiar face is the former Everton winger, Bernard. The little Brazilian brings the touch of quality into the team that few other can in the league, and as things go, Panathinaikos can start to look towards the stars for the first time in 14 years. At present, it’s only AEK Athens that pose a threat to Panathinaikos’ title charge, which we will talk a lot more about in the coming weeks.
It’s Benfica – the eagles of Lisbon – who are one of the most exciting teams to watch across Europe today. With two world champions and plenty of stars in their disposal, Benfica have been doing a fantastic job for ages now, with their consistent development of talent meaning they’re now sitting at the top of the table in Portugal once again. Enzo Fernandez, Goncalo Ramos and David Neres are among the stars that the Portuguese giants can boast on their roster, and along with the the rest of the squad, they’ve made Benfica a force to be reckoned with this year.
They’ve shown their class in the Champions League too – beating Juventus and PSG to progress to the knockout rounds as group champions. Back to the Liga Portugal, and Benfica currently sit five points clear of their fierce rivals Porto. Until recently, Benfica were undefeated in the league but alarm bells started ringing when the club lost 3-0 to Braga on New Year’s Eve. With the league being one of the most unpredictable in the world, it will be interesting to see who emerges victorious in May – but for now, the Eagles of Lisbon are heavy favourites.