Some mouthwatering fixtures will take place on Saturday in Round 8 of the Cyprus football championship that will almost certainly be significant at the end of the season.
Omonia and AEL kick-off the action at 6pm while a couple of hours later champions Apoel travel to Larnaca to face second-placed AEK.
Elsewhere, leaders Anorthosis make the short trip to Achna to take on Ethnikos while Apollon have a seemingly easy game against bottom side Aris.
Third-placed Pafos FC are at home to Nea Salamina while Alki entertain Doxa Katokopias. In the final weekend game Olympiakos are up against vastly improved Ermis Aradippou.
AEK have finished behind Apoel in the league for the past three seasons and even though a win may not guarantee them the championship it will allow them to move six points clear from of one the main title contenders.
Their coach Imanol Idiakez is well aware of the importance of the game but appeared confident in his pre-game press conference saying “Apoel are a quality side but we have the quality and desire to win the game.”
Idiakez is expected to retain the team that thumped five past Aris last week with Guillem Truyols the only player unavailable through injury.
Apoel’s injury list has been manager Giorgos Donis’ main concern from the start of the season. Last week Apoel could only name 16 players (instead of 22) for their game against Doxa as nine players were ruled out through injury.
In the Champions League on Tuesday against Borussia Dortmund it got even worse as they lost two more – goalkeeper Boy Waterman and striker Igor de Camargo – with the former being ruled out until the new year with a dislocated shoulder.
Even though some players have returned to full training (Efraim, Milanov, Oar) it is unlikely that Donis will select them for the starting eleven for such a demanding game.
Mikael Pote who excelled against Dortmund after coming on for the injured de Camargo, is set to retain his place with midfielder Lucas Souza set to start his second consecutive league game following his return from a lengthy injury.
Despite pre-season euphoria Omonia’s season so far has been disappointing, failing to defeat any of the first division newcomers and recording just two wins in six games.
Manager Pambos Christodoulou was quite critical of some his players following the loss to Ermis Aradippou last week and is expected to ring the changes hoping for a reaction by his players.
His captain Demetris Christophi is expected to start the game after overcoming a niggling injury while Rafa Lopes, Kante, William Soares and Benteke are all vying for a place in the starting line-up.
AEL were also given a jolt last week by newly-promoted Pafos FC and their Portuguese manager Bruno Baltazar is also expected to make changes to his starting eleven.
Baltazar may give his fellow countryman André Ferreira Teixeira his debut while AEL’s top scorer last season, Mikel Arruabarrena may be restored to the starting line-up.
Saturday: Alki v Doxa & Omonia v AEL (6pm), Pafos FC vs Salamina (7pm), AEK v Apoel & Ethnikos vs Anorthosis (8pm)
Sunday: Olympiakos v Ermis (6pm), Apollon v Aris (7pm)