Olympiacos Path To UCL Group Stage Becoming Clearer
Olympiacos’ 3-1 victory away to Partizan Belgrade last week was a result that puts the Greek side with one foot firmly into the next round of the Champions’ League qualifiers. The Erythrolefki only need to take care of business at home and they will advance to the final round of before the Group Stage which is known as the Champions’ League Play-offs.
As the highest seeded side amongst the teams in the Champions’ Route (i.e. those sides in the qualifiers that have won their domestic title), Olympiacos’ path is not necessarily easy, however they will play against sides that on paper are considered to be weaker opponents. Before the first leg matches, Greece’s most likely opponents from the Unseeded teams were the following teams considered to be favorites in their match-ups such as:
And the first leg results threw up some surprises which only look to benefit the Greek team. Of those five teams mentioned only Maribor and Slavia Prague came away with results that see them maintain their status as favorites. Maribor could move up into a seeded side if some of these results hold meaning Olympiacos could not play them.
At this point, Olympiacos would face one of the following unseeded sides in the Play-offs if we adjust for the teams that take some sort of advantage into the second leg and they manage to advance:
Probable Unseeded Opponents For Olympiacos
Hapoel Be’er Sheba
And potentially one more team that would be Rosenborg, Rijeka, or Sheriff Tiraspol. These three teams do not go into the second leg with a distinct advantage from the first game.
It’s all speculation at this point and of course Olympiacos still have their return leg to negotiate first. However, going into Friday’s draw for the Play-offs, Olympiacos appear to be in a very strong position as the top seed and seeing some potentially difficult opponents such as Legia Warsaw and APOEL amongst others struggling in the first leg. The path to the Group Stage is beginning to open up as Olympiacos supporters hope their side can return there after missing out last season.