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Played
October 24, 2012 7:45 PM BST
Stade de la Mosson — Montpellier
Referee:‬ D. Orsato‎
Attendance:‬ 22834‎
 

Montpellier - Olympiakos Preview: Both teams look to end European slump

Nether side have started their European campaigns on top form this season, but will be hoping to take a giant step towards qualification with victory on Wednesday

By Livio Caferoglu

Younes Belhanda - Montpellier
AFP
  PROBABLE LINE-UPS
MONTPELLIER

Pionnier
Jeunechamp, Congre, Hilton, Bedimo
Saihi, Stambouli
Camara, Belhanda, Cabella
Herrera
OLYMPIAKOS

Carroll
Torosidis, Manolas, Contreras, Holebas
Maniatis, Modesto
Abdoun, Fuster, Mitroglou
Djebbour


Montpellier were dealt a huge blow with the news that Karim Ait-Fana - the opening goalscorer in the 2-2 draw with Schalke a fortnight ago - will be out for six months after the winger injured his right knee in training on October 11. Additionally, defender Garry Bocaly must serve a one-game ban following his red card against the Germans, along with coach Rene Girard.

However, experienced midfielder Romain Pitau is back after seeing out his suspension from the 2010-11 Europa League third qualifying round against Hungarian side Gyori ETO. Elsewhere, expect Emanuel Herrera and Remy Cabella to come into the fold. The pair were late substitutions in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Rennes.

Meanwhile for Olympiakos, attacking midfielder Ariel Ibagaza is ruled out due to a groin injury, while Tassos Papazoglou's dislocated left shoulder means he will also miss the clash with the French champions. Yet two changes from their Super League success against Xanthi at the weekend should see Vasilis Torosidis and Kostas Mitroglou return to the side.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • This is the first time Montpellier will be facing Greek opposition.
  • La Paillade have accumulated seven yellow cards so far, the joint highest total in the groups.
  • In contrast to their opponents' seven-game winning run, MHSC have won just two of their nine Ligue 1 matches this season.
  • Meanwhile Olympiakos have lost eight out of 12 games in France, recording just three victories.
  • The Greeks have scored 98 goals in the Champions League group stage to the final.
  • Djamel Abdoun, Paulo Machado, Francois Modesto and Rafik Djebbour all have experience of playing in France.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Nov 6, 2012 Olympiakos Piraeus 3 - Montpellier HSC 1
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UEFA Champions League ‎(UCL)‎ Oct 24, 2012 Montpellier HSC 1 - Olympiakos Piraeus 2
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Laurent PionnierGoalkeeper
13Mapou Yanga-MbiwaDefender
5Vitorino Hilton da SilvaDefender
-H. BedimoDefender
29Younes BelhandaMidfielder
20Rémy CabellaMidfielder
22Benjamin Stambouli Midfielder
23Jamel SaihiMidfielder
99John UtakaStriker
26Anthony MounierStriker
-Gaetan CharbonnierStriker
16Geoffrey JourdrenGoalkeeper
3Daniel CongréDefender
27Cyril JeunechampDefender
6Joris MarveauxMidfielder
13M. EstradaMidfielder
-Emanuel HerreraStriker
19Souleymane CamaraStriker
Players to Watch
Younes Belhanda
Younes Belhanda
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 29
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Without Ait-Fani to complement him and Olivier Giroud to support him, all eyes will be on the Moroccan to provide the creativity for Montpellier. Along with Souleymane Camara, the attacking midfielder has carried the team this season, but it remains to be seen how much longer he can weigh the hopes of his side on his back. Still, a positive performance against Olympiakos would be a welcome boost to his and MHSC's morale.
Rafik Zoheir Djebbour
Rafik Zoheir Djebbour
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
A former Auxerre youth product, Djebbour is currently his club's top scorer this season with eight goals in just seven appearances, and his last-minute winner against Xanthi at the weekend only further highlighted his importance to the Olympiakos cause, as Kevin Mirallas' summer departure has meant his form in front of the net is more crucial than ever to Greek hopes at home and abroad.
Prediction
Montpellier may have the better continental record, albeit marginally, but Olympiakos' far greater strength in depth, coupled with their dominant domestic form should see them ruin their opponents' baptism of fire against a Greek outfit and make it a second straight win over a team from French seas.
Editor's Prediction
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
14 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
10 1
Messi Messi
Striker
Barcelona
8 2
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atl. Madrid
7 0
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
6 2