Greek club Olympiakos have become synonymous with the UEFA Champions League in recent years. Between 2007 and 2014 they reached the Round of 16 of the competition three times and made the quarter-final in 1998/99.
Champions League First playoff round, Game 2 – Stadion HNK Rijeka, Rijeka – 19:45
Best Odd of: 7/4 at Ladbrokes
Best Odd of: 9/4 at Betfred
Best Odd of: 7/4 at Sky Bet
In recent years they have defeated Arsenal, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Manchester United. Therefore, it would be a surprise not to see Olympiakos in the Champions League group stages this season.
Their opponents, HNK Rijeka have never played in the Champions League group stages. In the previous two seasons they failed to reach the Europa League group stages, losing in the qualifying rounds. Their last attempt to reach the Champions League group stage was in 1999/00 when they were eliminated in qualifying round two.
Rijeka will come into this match with the belief they can win it and qualify for the lucrative group stage of the Champions League for this first time in their history. Despite losing the away leg of the tie 2-1 thanks to a late winning goal by Olympiakos, the away goal could prove to be very useful in the second leg.
Rijeka are not in great form and won their first match in 5 attempts on the weekend, defeating Lokomotiva Zagreb 2-1 at home in the Croatian domestic league. Prior to that win they had drawn 0-0 at home with Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League and lost to Osijek, Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos. However, Rijeka are tough to beat at home and have lost only 1 of their last 46 competitive games at the Stadion HNK Rijeka.
Olympiakos have played 4 competitive games this season, winning 3 and drawing 1 including their 2-1 victory in the first leg of this tie. They followed up their 2-1 win in the Champions League with a convincing 4-1 win over Larissa in the Greek league on the weekend, lifting them to the top of the table after only one match.
Olympiakos have scored at least 2 goals in each of their 4 games this season but have yet to keep a clean sheet in any of them. However, they did win away from home in the previous round of the Champions League this season, defeating Partizan 3-1. Conceding goals has been a problem when playing away in the Champions League and Olympiakos have kept 1 clean sheet in their last 11 games.
Rijeka will be without left back Leonardo Zuta who is suspended following his red card in the first leg of this tie. Otherwise, Rijeka should be a at full strength for this game. Olympiakos are also looking good in terms of squad fitness and only striker Emanuel Emenike is unavailable due to injury.
Top Betting Tips
Olympiakos know how important getting an away goal will be in this game. They have been scoring plenty of goals this season but also conceding them at the other end and both teams to score at Evens with Ladbrokes makes a tempting bet.
Olympiakos are the better team on paper and have the superior experience when it comes to Champions League football. However, Rijeka have a tremendous home record and are very tough to beat on their own pitch. The draw is 21/10 with William Hill.
Konstantinos Fortounis is the man to watch for Olympiakos having scored 3 goals from midfield this season, including 2 on the weekend. Fortounis is 11/5 with Ladbrokes to score at any time.