A pair of key off-season acquisitions in attack for FC OLYMPIAKOS PIRAEUS, Serbia World Cup striker MARKO PANTELIC (9) and Belgium international forward KEVIN MIRALLAS (14), have combined to score 16 goals in the Greek Super League for Thrylos this season. (www.sportena.com)
Having won the last ten league games on the trot, FC OLYMPIAKOS PIRAEUS are poised to make a final push for the Greek title beginning with a big victory over cross-town, arch-rival FC Panathinaikos Athens in the “DERBY OF ETERNAL ENEMIES”.
FC Olympiakos Piraeus are the all-time king in Greece with 37 domestic crowns to its credit but had their five-year championship streak snapped last year by its traditional, intra-city foe. Thrylos (The Legend) have recovered nicely since the early-season sacking of new German trainer EWALD LIENEN following an early exit at the hands of Israeli club FC Maccabi Tel Aviv in the UEFA Europa League. Under the guidance of Spanish manager ERNESTO VALVERDE, Olympiakos have opened up a seven-point advantage with just eight games remaining in the Greek top flight this term.
The in-form player at the moment is Spanish midfielder DAVID FUSTER, who has scored four goals in his Olympiakos’ last five games and seven in the span of the ten-match winning streak; the 29-year-old off-season addition costing 1.5 million Euros from La Liga side CF Villarreal is joint-top scorer for Thrylos with nine goals.
Belgium international striker KEVIN MIRALLAS, out on loan to the Greek club from French side AS St. Etienne, has had a career year with his nine goals for Olympiakos. Serbia World Cup striker MARKO PANTELIC has contributed seven goals to The Legend in the league. And, Algeria World Cup striker RAFIK DJEBBOUR, who was signed on a free transfer from AEK ATHENS towards the end of January, scored a first goal for Olympiakos, his sixth of the season, in last week’s 2-1 victory over FC Aris Thessaloniki.
A key ingredient to the attack has been Spanish international ALBERT RIERA, who was purchased from English Premier League club FC Liverpool for an initial fee of 3.3 million pounds (4.0 million Euros). The 28-year-old winger has also attained a personal best with six goals in the Greek top flight this term. Liverpool stand to profit another 1.6 million English pounds should Olympiakos, indeed, capture the league championship.
One highly-experienced element at the disposal of Olympiakos is Denmark World Cup winger DENNIS ROMMEDAHL, who has earned 107 caps and scored 18 goals for his country over his career; like Pantelic, the 32-year-old veteran played with Ajax Amsterdam and joined The Legend this summer on a free transfer.
FC OLYMPIAKOS PIRAEUS
2010-11 Greek league stats
GK : Urko 17/17, A. Nikopolidis 5/5
DF : A. Papadopoulos 20/19, V. Torosidis 19/18, J. Holebas 18/9, O. Mellberg 16/16, F. Modesto 16/12, R. Bravo 14/14, I. Potouridis 4/3, * G. Maniatis 2/1
MF : D. Fuster 22/21, A. Riera 20/20, A. Ibagaza 18/15, G. Fetfatzidis 15/9, Dudu Cearense 14/12, M. Hurtado 10/8, J. Zairi 9/3, I. Papadopoulos 7/3
ST : K. Mirallas 20/17, M. Pantelic 15/8, D. Rommedahl 13/7, R. Djebbour 3/1
goals ——— Fuster 9, Mirallas 9, Pantelic 7, Riera 6, Torosidis 3, Djebbour 1, Fetfatzidis 1, Mellberg 1, Rommedahl 1
Serbia World Cup striker MARKO PANTELIC (9), who scored 16 goals in 25 Eredivisie games last season, signed with FC Olympiakos Piraeus this past August on a free transfer after Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam did not offer the 32-year-old veteran a contract with a longer term.