Olympiakos made a decent start in the new season, as they progressed to Champions League group stage overcoming Partizan and Rijeka and started Greek Super League with two victories, over AEL Larissa and Lamia, but the side made a setback last weekend when they visited Xanthi and stood with just a point taken in a 1:1 draw on Saturday evening.
True, their performances weren’t in previous matches at the best possible level, but now the side paid the first price – they took the lead in 12th minute with a goal from Engels, but weren’t that effective in attack and didn’t move the ball well in the midfeild, as the hosts leveled up the result in 43rd via Lisgaras and conitnued being quite threatening on counter attacks mostly. They continued being first at the table together with AEK now, but some gaps in their play were obvious and they might pay the price in Europe later on.
Central defender Jagos Vukovic is injured for the Greek side, with Jacques-Alaixys Romao probably replacing him together with Bjorn Engels in defense. They should be playing in 4-2-3-1 formation with Djurdjevic as lone striker, plus Seba, Marin and Pardo as offensive midfielders.
Sporting, on the other hand, had only one obstacle on their road to Champions League group stage, as they met Romanian side FSB and did well after all – first game ended as a goalless draw in front of their fans, but the quality difference was too huge to ignore in the second leg and was finally shown, as the Portuguese side celebrated 5:1 victory in Bucharest.
As for the domestic league, they have opened up the season in the best possible way, starting with five victories and leading currently the table together with Porto with a maximum record. Maybe their most difficult game so far in Primeira came in previous round, when the side fought out 3:2 win on the road over Feirense last Friday night. They were better during the whole game, but increased the pressure in second halftime and quickly took the lead via Coates and Fernandes in 62nd and 65th minute. Hosts replid via Silva and Etebo, a bit against the flow of the match, while the Lions got the victory in eight minute of additional time via penalty kick taken by Dost.
Guests are set to play in 4-2-3-1 formation too, with Dost as their number nine, plus Martins, Fernandes and Acuna as offensive midfielders. Offensive Daniel Podence (2/0) is injured, same as left back Fabio Coentrao (3/0), while Cristiano Piccini has some chance to play but being doubtful for now.
Olympiakos go into this one after a disappointing performance and result in Greek League against Xanthi and surely they want to bounce back with much more positive performance and a victory. However, in my eyes, Sporting remains a bit better here and surely that the Portuguese side will understand that they have real chance during the match since they can’t afford to drop points if they are to fight for two first positions. It’s something that should open up the game and make both teams scoring at least once, while slight advantage I give to Portuguese too.