With only four rounds remaining, two very important games will take place this weekend in the Cyprus football championship, one involving the title race between AEK and Apollon, and the other between Doxa Katokopias and Aris in the relegation scrap.
The clash between AEK and Apollon will almost certainly signal the end of the championship aspirations of at least one if not both clubs, provided Apoel win their tough match away against AEL.
AEK, who up until a couple of weeks ago were considered out of the race, have gradually clawed their way back into the reckoning and a win will keep them firmly in the hunt for their first ever title.
Coach Imanol Idiakez has just Vincent Laban and Ivan Triscovski out but, in front of their home crowd to spur them on, they will be hoping to take the three points.
Apollon’s form has been somewhat erratic recently but if they manage to reproduce the form that saw them thump six past Anorthosis in the Cup in midweek, they will prove very tough opponents.
Cypriot coach Sofronis Avgousti will be without his midfield destroyer Esteban Sachetti but Alex da Silva is available again after serving his suspension and the good news for Avgousti is that he can now count on experienced midfielder Constantinos Makrides, who made a successful comeback on Wednesday after a year-long absence due to injury.
Leaders Apoel travel to Limassol to face AEL for the second time in ten days. The champions have been going through a very bad patch largely attributed to their long injury list and fatigue due to the 50-plus games they have played so far in all competitions.
Trusted central defender Nicolas Ioannou and Roberto Lago are the latest players to join Giorgos Merkis, Giorgos Efraim and Giannis Gianniotas on the injury list, while their coach Thomas Christiansen will also be without regular right-back Zhivko Milanov who is serving a one game suspension.
AEL have shown signs of improvement since new coach Bruno Baltazar took charge but they do find it hard to find the net.
The suspension of striker Mikel Arouabarrena will further add to their problems in front of goal as only rookie striker Yiannis Mavrou is left to lead the line.
Mezga has a niggling injury but should be fit for the game but Dossa Junior, Marco Airosa and Kevin Lafrance are out through injury or suspension.
In the final Championship Group game a decimated Anorthosis, without seven first team players, take on Omonia at the Antonis Papadopoulos with the visitors hoping to clinch the points that will keep them in the hunt for fourth place.
At one point Doxa Katokopias were trailing the team above them by 10 points, but they have managed to reduce the deficit to just three.
Opponents Aris are on the best run of all the sides involved since the playoffs begun with three wins, a draw and a defeat.
If they manage to beat Aris on Saturday they will be level on points with them (and perhaps Karmiotissa), ensuring a nail-biting finish to the relegation struggle.
Doxa coach Savvas Pousaitides rested a few players during their midweek Cup defeat to Apoel, showing where their priorities are.
Karmiotissa, the other team in danger and currently level on points with Aris, have a tough home game against group leaders Ermis Aradippou while the final game of the weekend is between Nea Salamina and Ethnikos Achnas at the Ammochostos stadium.
Championship group standings and fixtures:
1. Apoel 72,
2. Apollon 68,
3. AEK 68,
4. AEL 59
5. Omonia 57
6. Anorthosis 43
Saturday: Anorthosis v Omonia (16.00)
Sunday: AEK v Apollon (16.00), AEL v Apoel (18.00)
Relegation group standings and fixtures:
1. Ermis 42,
2. Nea Salamina 39,
3. Ethnikos Achnas 36,
4. Aris 34,
5. Karmiotissa 34,
6. Doxa 31
Saturday: Doxa Katokopias v Aris (18.00), Karmiotissa v Ermis (19.00)
Sunday: Nea Salamina v Ethnikos (19.00)