The Super League Greece has a new champion, with PAOK’s 5-0 victory over Levadiakos ensuring that they will finish the season on top of the table.
It was a history making moment, with the passionate post-match celebrations making world headlines. The title was their third in their existence and their first championship since 1985.
While players such as Konstantinos Iosifidis, Nikos Alavantas, Christos Dimopoulos and Ivan Jurisic are just some of those involved in their last championship winning season, names such as Diego Biseswar, Vierinha, Alexandros Paschalakis and Chuba Akpom are a few of many that will enter the PAOK history books as champions.
If PAOK avoid a defeat on the weekend against PAS Giannina, they will have gone through an entire season undefeated. They have currently won 25 out of their 29 matches, while drawing four of them. They hold a five-point gap over second-placed Olympiacos, and this may extend over the weekend.
They are still in the running to win another piece of silverware, with the club holding a 2-0 lead over Asteras Tripoli in the Greek Cup semi-final. The second leg will take place on Thursday and PAOK are expected to qualify for the final.
Despite their domestic success, PAOK did not perform as well in Europe this season. They defeated Swiss side Basel and Russian club Spartak Moscow in the opening two Champions League qualifying rounds, however, could not overcome Benfica in the play-off round.
Subsequently, they qualified for the Europa League group stage and finished last in a group that featured Chelsea, Belarusian club BATE Borisov and Hungarian side MOL Vidi. A 4-1 drubbing in Belarus was their only victory of their European campaign and they disappointingly bowed out.
However, it allowed them to concentrate on their domestic ambitions and they have been rewarded for their good form throughout the season.
It has been a team effort all season, with the goal scoring shared across the whole squad. Biseswar has scored the most league goals for the team with eight, while Mauricio, Vierinha and Akpom each scoring five.
Goalkeeper Paschalakis has also had a solid season, with PAOK only conceding 14 goals to date in the league.
Their Romanian manager Razvan Lucescu is in his second season in charge and has finally been rewarded after coming close last season. They fell six points short of AEK Athens in 2017/18, however won the Greek Cup.
The last few seasons have been rocky for PAOK, with points deductions over multiple seasons and crowd behaviour hampering the club’s ability to challenge for the title. PAOK made the headlines for all the wrong reasons – the gun incident being the most notable. However, finally they can show the world the best of their team.
Just over a decade ago, the club was suffering from horrible financial problems, which also saw them banned from the UEFA Cup in 2006. It has been an emotional journey along the way for their fans, however they can now celebrate their massive achievement.