Olympiakos F.C vs. FC Barcelona: All you need to know about this match
Valverde’s men will surely to continue their 100% wining start in the ucl campaign when they meet the struggling Olympiakos side.Barcelona is still unbeaten in this season
with Leo Messi on the pick of his goal scoring form.Meanwhilw Olympiacos had a poor campaign so far.The last meeting between thesetwo side ended up in 3-1 favour of Barca.Leo Messi scored his
100th European goal on that match with a classy free kick.
Tuesday night will see Ernesto Valverde return to a former stomping ground, with the 53-year-old having led Olympiacos to three league titles and two Greek Cups during two separate spells in 2008-09 and 2010-12.
Olympiacos’ task always looked tough in this season’s Champions League having been drawn in a difficult group alongside Barcelona, Juventus and Sporting Lisbon, and sure enough they could see their last 16 hopes dashed with two games still to go.
Defeat on Tuesday would open up an unassailable gap to the top two should Juventus lose to Sporting in the group’s other game, while even a draw will not be enough should Juve win in Lisbon.
A 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday night was Barca’s ninth from 10 league outings this season, dropping just two points so far to build a four-point lead over second-place Valencia.
The Blaugrana are heavy favourites to regain the title from that position, and many would also include them amongst the frontrunners to lift the Champions League this season following back-to-back quarter-final exits in the past two campaigns.
Barca have already gone some way towards avenging one of those with an impressive 3-0 victory over last year’s runners-up Juventus on matchday one, and while subsequent wins over Sporting and Olympiacos were not as headline-grabbing, it leaves them in complete control of Group D.
However Barca manager recalled his memories on his time at Greece club.
“I don’t know why the Olympiacos fans like me so much” he told his pre-game press conference. “But we did win a lot of trophies. And the feeling is mutual because the Greek people always treated me very well. I say that because I left a large part of my heart there.”
“These will be two special games for me, and especially the game over there because it’s a magical place for me. The team has changed a lot but it’s still Olympiacos, a team where I won a lot of titles, although what really matter to me are the people I got to know there.”
“Olympiacos is an aggressive side, and not in the negative sense. They have an important league game on Sunday and they’re struggling a bit, but they always raise their game for the Champions League.”
Now it remains to see how his side perform against his former club.
Telecast:Sony Ten 3(India),Sky sports(UK)
Live streaming: Sony Liv,www.ronaldo7.net,www.firstrowsportes.com
Barcelona will be without Gerard Pique for the trip to Athens after he picked up two yellow cards in the first half of the reverse fixture a fortnight ago.
Javier Mascherano is the most likely replacement for the centre-back, while the likes of Lucas Digne, who scored in the reverse, FIFA FIFPro World11 member Andres Iniesta and Gerard Deulofeu will be hopeful of returning to the side having sat out at the weekend.
Lionel Messi, who missed out to perennial rival Cristiano Ronaldo in The Best FIFA Men’s Player awards earlier this month, will once again lead the line alongside Luis Suarez having scored 19 goals in as many games for club and country this season.
Ousmane Dembele remains sidelined, but Paulinho could retain his place in the side having joined Messi on the scoresheet in Bilbao at the weekend.
Olympiacos, meanwhile, will be without Seba (knee) and El Fardou Ben Nabouhane (hip), but the likes of Emmanuel Emenike and Botia – a former Barcelona player – are expected to be fit following recent injuries.
The Greek side deployed Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe as their most advanced player at the Camp Nou, but they are expected to name a slightly more attacking lineup in front of their own fans.
Olympiacos possible starting lineup: Proto; Elabdellaoui, Engels, Botia, Koutris; Romao, Odjidja-Ofoe, Pardo, Fortounis, Androutsos; Emenike
— Olympiacos FC (@olympiacos_org) October 30, 2017
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Digne; Paulinho, Busquets, Iniesta; Deulofeu, Suarez, Messi
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 30, 2017
Olympiacos have struggled domestically and in Europe this season, to the point that their Super League form will be their priority right now. Barcelona only scraped past Sporting in their previous Champions League away game, but they should have enough to see off the hosts in Athens.
My prediction is 2-0 victory for Barcelona.