Olympiacos Hopeful In Returning To Champions’ League
Though the club are still searching for a manager, Olympiacos are approaching this summer with a single goal in mind – a return to the Champions’ League.
After last year’s shock elimination at the hands of Hapoel Beer Sheva, the Greek champions, for matters of pride, prestige, and certainly financial considerations are desperate to return to the world’s premier club competition.
Due to Greece’s club coefficient ranking, the country’s league champions must now navigate two qualifying rounds in order to make the Group Stage.
The first qualifying round that Olympiacos will have to navigate this summer will be the 3rd qualifying round. Those games will be played on July 25th/26th (1st Leg) and August 1st/2nd (2nd Leg).
Since all the European leagues are not yet finished, a complete picture is not yet available. However, a glance at the teams already qualified gives us a glimpse into Olympiacos’ potential opponents for the 3rd qualifying round.
Olympiacos will have to qualify via the Champions Route and will be the highest seeded team of all the qualified sides in the 3rd qualifying round.
One potential opponent will be none other than the team that defeated the Erythrolefki last season at the same stage, Hapoel Beer-Sheva. In addition to the Israeli side, probable opponents (including some clubs favored to win leagues that are coming to a close): Astana (Kazakhstan), Partizan (Serbia), Rijeka (Croatia), Rosenborg (Norway), Slavia Prague (Czech Republic), Hafnarfjardar (Iceland), Viitorul (Romania), Zilina (Slovakia), and Zalgiris (Lithuania).
Those names don’t exactly inspire fear, however Olympiacos will face tougher opposition in the final round, the Champions’ League Playoffs.
It’s only speculative at this stage, however if the seeds manage to advance past the 3rd qualifying round and if the current leaders of their respective leagues hold on to win their titles then Olympiacos can expect to face the following sides: APOEL (Cyprus), Malmo (Sweden), BATE Borisov (Belarus), Maribor (Slovenia), and Qarabag (Azerbaijan).
Again, Olympiacos would be favorites to advance, but these sides are not be underestimated, specifically APOEL, as Olympiacos know first-hand having lost to the Cypriots twice in the Europa League Group Stage earlier this season.