OLY-JUVE Preview: All About Pride In Piraeus For Thrylos
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - GROUP D (MATCHDAY 6)
|Olympiacos||2:45 PM (EST)||Juventus|
AGONAsport's George Tsitsonis brings you a full preview for Olympiacos' UEFA Champions League Matchday 6 fixture against Juventus.
It’ll be all about pride instead of points for Olympiacos as they prepare to host Juventus on Tuesday in this season’s Champions’ League Group Stage finale. The Matchday 6 encounter means nothing on paper for Takis Lemonis’ men as the defeat to Sporting Lisbon two weeks ago ending any lingering hopes of the Greek team continuing in Europe this season.
A victory will not help Olympiacos avoid finishing in last place in Group D. A win over the Italian giants and last season’s finalists in the competition would be big in terms of pride and prestige, but it would ultimately add only a little gloss to a disappointing year in Europe for the Erythrolefki.
It was always going to be a tough ask in a group that also included Barcelona and Sporting Lisbon. However, the matches against the Portuguese side in particular, have been tough for supporters to take.
Juventus meanwhile come to Piraeus still needing to do some work to ensure second place in the section and spot in the Round of 16. Massimiliano Allegri’s side have eight points to Sporting’s seven and thus know a victory will clinch their place in the knockout round. A draw in Greece or even a loss would still do assuming Sporting failed to win away to Barcelona.
There are doubts over the availability of Alberto Botia. The Spanish defender came off at halftime in the weekend win over Apollon Smirnis due to a knock. Botia is expected to overcome his injury in time to be available, but Lemonis may decide to rest him as he looks to prioritize the league over the meaningless Matchday 6 encounter.
Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe and Emmanuel Emenike are injury-free, but it remains to be seen whether Lemonis will select any one of the players due to a lack of match fitness. Diogo Figueiras will miss the match against the Italian champions through suspension.
Allegri must deal with a recently injured trio ahead of the trip to Greece. The Juventus boss will be without the services of Benedikt Howedes due to a torn thigh muscle which will keep the German defender out until 2018. Also missing the trip is Stephan Lichtsteiner and Mario Mandzukic due to a calf injury.
Olympiacos: Proto, Koutris, Botia, Engels, Elabdellaoui, Romao, Tachtsidis, Ofoe, Seba, Pardo, Djurdjevic
Juventus: Buffon, Asamoah, Chiellini, Benatia, De Sciglio, Matuidi, Pjanic, Khedira, Costa, Dybala, Higuain
12/2/17 Olympiacos-Apollon Smirnis 3-1 (Greek Super League)
11/29/17 Kissamikos-Olympiacos 1-1 (Greek Cup)
11/26/17 Kerkyra-Olympiacos 1-3 (Greek Super League)
11/22/17 Sporting Lisbon-Olympiacos 3-1 (UEFA Champions’ League)
11/18/17 Olympiacos-Levadiakos 2-1 (Greek Super League)
12/1/17 Napoli-Juventus 0-1 (Serie A)
11/26/17 Juventus-Crotone 3-0 (Serie A)
11/22/17 Juventus-Barcelona 0-0 (UEFA Champions’ League)
11/19/17 Sampdoria-Juventus 3-2 (Serie A)
11/5/17 Juventus-Benevento 2-1 (Serie A)
Tuesday’s match will be the 12th time the two teams have played each other in European competition. Juventus hold the series lead with seven wins, two draws, and two losses. The last time the two clubs met was in Matchday 2 when Juventus came out with a 2-0 victory. Juventus are the side that gave Olympiacos their worst-ever defeat in Europe, a 7-0 thrashing back in the the 2003/04 competition.
There is a quiet hope amongst fans that Olympiacos will really go for it on Tuesday night against Juve. With nothing concrete to play for, now is certainly the time to risk a little and give the crowd at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium something of a spectacle in this Matchday 6 clash.
Surely, Juventus have great pedigree and are one of the continent’s top teams. So, if Olympiacos could just sneak a result then it could prove beneficial with the boost of confidence heading into the New Year.
Juventus will want to take care of business early so if Olympiacos can withstand the opening onslaught perhaps there will be space to take advantage of as the game wears on. If nothing else, fans could go home with a smile should an unexpected result come about in the team’s final European game this season