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Champions League Preview: Olympiacos – Standard Liege

Kick-Off: Tuesday, 20 October, 20:45 CET.
Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus.

Crucial Points On Offer

Olympiacos, who won the Greek league and cup double once again last season, will be desperate to record their second Champions League victory of the campaign at home this week.

The Greek outfit won their opening fixture at the Karaiskakis Stadium against the Dutch side AZ Alkmaar by a 1-0 scoreline, with Vasilis Torosidis netting a late winner.

They have been the champions of the Greek League every season since 1997-98, bar one – the 2003-04 campaign. For this reason, they will be keen to perform admirably in this edition of the Champions League, progressing from what looks to be a fairly weak group on paper.

With three points to their name from the opening two fixtures, Olympiacos can consolidate their position in second place in Group H with a solid victory against their Belgian opponents.

Having won six of their past seven fixtures in all competitions since the dismissal of Temuri Ketsbaia on September 15, their caretaker coach, Bozidar Bandovic, guided them to victories over AZ and PAOK respectively, before the permanent successor Zico began with a 2-1 win in the rescheduled derby against AEK Athens.

They will be brimming with confidence, especially considering the fact that they have kept ten clean sheets in 13 competitive fixtures this term.

Walking On Thin Ice

Standard Liege will go into their first ever meeting with Olympiacos knowing that they desperately need a victory in order to maintain the Greeks' pace, not to mention current group leaders Arsenal, who are expected to pick up another three points on their travels to Alkmaar this week.

Things were looking good for Standard against the English giants on the opening matchday, when two goals in under five minutes gave them an immediate advantage. One goal towards the end of the first half and two in the second ensured the Gunners took home the three points though, denying the Belgians a dream start.

Having drawn against a struggling AZ Alkmaar side in the following round of matches, Standard find themselves in a dangerous position heading into this clash - defeat will likely result in a five point deficit between themselves and the second placed club.

They have it all to play for in this match, and having lost at the weekend in the league for the first time in their 11 matches this season, they should be keen to make amends against the Greek champions.


FORM GUIDE

Olympiacos

October 17 v Asteras Tripolis FC (H) – WON 3-0 (Super League)

October 3 v Levadiakos (A) – WON 3-0 (Super League)

September 29 v Arsenal – (A) LOST 2-0 (Champions League)

September 26 v Panionios (H) – WON 1-0 (Super League)

September 23 v AEK Athens (A) – WON 2-1 (Super League)

Standard Liege

October 17 v Westerlo (A) – LOST 2-0 (Pro League)

October 4 v Genk (H) – WON 1-0 (Pro League)

September 29 v AZ Alkmaar (A) – DREW 1-1 (Champions League)

September 26 v Kortrijk (A) – WON 2-0 (Pro League)

September 23 v Cercle Brugge (H) – DREW 1-1 (Pro League)


TEAM NEWS

Olympiacos:

The hosts have a number of injury concerns to deal with. Matt Derbyshire, who is struggling to overcome a groin injury, is going to miss out. Enzo Maresca will have a late fitness test.

Meanwhile, Diogo limped off in the weekend’s victory over Tripolis, further aggravating an ankle injury, whilst Georgios Galitsios also damaged his ankle during that clash. Andreas Vasilogiannis will be out for the next six months after recently undergoing knee surgery.

In positive news, Galletti is back after overcoming his knock.

Possible Starting-XI (4-4-1-1): Nikopolidis, Zewlakow, Mellberg, A. Papadopoulos, Raul Bravo; Galletti, Ledesma, Torosidis, Dudu; Oscar Gonzalez; Mitroglou.

Standard Liege:

Les Rouches’ captain, Steven Defour, will miss out once again after suffering a broken foot just days before the Arsenal match. He is expected to be on the sidelines for at least another two months, whilst the Portuguese defender Ricardo Rocha has been ruled out with a groin injury.

Cedric Collet is still out with the broken metatarsal he picked up in training a few weeks ago, whilst Igor De Camargo managed to break the little toe on his right foot during training with the Belgian national team last week.

Possible Starting XI – (4-4-2): Bolat; Camozzato, Marcos, Mulemo, Felipe; Goreux, Dalmat, Traore, Nicaise; Mbokani, Jovanovic.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Olympiacos – Olof Mellberg: The experienced defender is in a purple patch at the moment, having scored three goals in the past seven days, one for Olympiacos at the weekend, as well as a brace for Sweden against Albania last week. The former Juve man will be keen to continue his great run of form.

Standard Liege – Milan Jovanovic: The Serbian striker has already managed to tally eight goals this season in all competitions, and with a host of key players out in his side, a lot of the pressure will fall onto his shoulders in this fixture. It is unlikely that the hosts will fail to score on the night, so Jovanovic may have to score in order for his side to achieve at least a draw.


PREDICTION

It will certainly be an evenly balanced encounter, as both teams will be desperate not to fall any further behind the group leaders Arsenal. The Greeks will be favoured by the home advantage and should narrowly get over the line on the night.

Olympiacos 2-1 Standard Liege

Adrian Del Monte, Goal.com