David Visits Goliath At The Nou Camp: FCB-OLY Preview
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - GROUP D (MATCHDAY 3)
|Barcelona||2:45 PM (EST)||Olympiacos|
Georgios Tsitsonis from AGONAsport.com brings you a full preview for Olympiacos' Champions League Matchday 3 matchup against Barcelona.
It will be a reunion for Ernesto Valverde as Olympiacos head to the Nou Camp on Wednesday night to play against Barcelona in Matchday 3 of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions’ League.
The Barcelona boss spent three seasons in Greece (in two different stints) with Olympiacos, winning three Greek Super League titles with the Erythrolefki along with two Greek Cups. Now, the 53-year-old finds welcomes his former team to the home of his current clubs, one of the biggest in the world.
Olympiacos showed signs of recovery after a recent dip in form in a 4-3 away win over Panionios. That was the Greek champions first league win in four attempts. Manager Takis Lemonis will surely be focusing on making up a four-point gap in the league, but he will want to at least show his team’s competitive side in Europe. After two losses to open up the campaign and with back-to-back matches against Barcelona to come, Olympiacos’ chances of picking up many points in this group are already small.
Barcelona meanwhile are in the throes of the political hurricane overtaking their region where citizens of the Catalonia region recently voted in favor of independence from Spain. After a strong start to their domestic season, the club are in hopes that those external factors will give them strength as opposed to negatively impacting their attempts to regain the La Liga title. In Europe, Barca have been also started the season well, thumping Juventus in their Champions’ League opener while picking up a tough win away to Sporting Lisbon on Matchday 2.
Olympiacos will have it all to do, especially against a Barcelona team led by Lionel Messi who is approaching the best form of his career. It’s hard to see who will stop the brilliant Argentine from shredding through the Olympiacos backline.
Valverde has mostly a full squad from which to choose from. Arda Turan picked up an injury on international duty. Otherwise, the only absentees for the Blaugrana are long-term injury victims Rafinha and Ousmane Dembele.
Lemonis has dropped Diogo Figueiras from the squad going to Spain after a below-par performance against Panionios. His replacement is likely to be Omar Elabdellaoui. An injury to Seba rules him out of this match. Also unavailable is Emanuel Emenike who has not recovered in time to make the squad.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Alba, Umtiti, Pique, Semedo, Busquets, Paulinho, Rakitic, Iniesta, Suarez, Messi
Olympiacos: Proto, Koutris, Botia, Cisse, Elabdellaoui, Romao, Odjidja, Fortounis, Carcela, Pardo, Ansarifard
10/14/17 Atletico Madrid-Barcelona 1-1 (Spanish La Liga)
10/1/17 Barcelona-Las Palmas 3-0 (Spanish La Liga)
9/27/17 Sporting Lisbon-Barcelona 0-1 (UEFA Champions’ League)
9/23/17 Girona-Barcelona 0-3 (Spanish La Liga)
9/19/17 Barcelona- Eibar 6-1 (Spanish La Liga)
10/14/17 Panionios-Olympiacos 3-4 (Greek Super League)
10/1/17 Olympiacos-Atromitos 0-1 (Greek Super League)
9/27/17 Juventus-Olympiacos 2-0 (UEFA Champions’ League)
9/24/17 AEK-Olympiacos 3-2 (Greek Super League)
9/16/17 Olympiacos-Asteras Tripolis 1-1 (Greek Super League)
This will be the first match Barcelona and Olympiacos have ever played against one another.
Even the most optimistic of Olympiacos won’t be expecting much as their side prepare to go to the Nou Camp. On paper, this is a mismatch if there ever was one, however Olympiacos still must head to Spain with the best of intentions. Not only will Thrylos be up against one of the world’s top teams, they must also face off against history, the club playing 14 European matches in Spain and never having won a single encounter.
A decent display would help keep some momentum going forward in the team’s attempted league revival. Surely, upsets have happened before, but Olympiacos look too vulnerable at the back and lacking the bite in midfield and in attack to offer much resistance against Lionel Messi and company. That said, Lemonis will be expecting an honest and committed performance from his men, regardless of the result.On the last Matchday against Juventus, Olympiacos gained plaudits for their performance. A repeat against Barcelona would be considered a big success.