Olympiacos vs FC Nantes : with one eye on Leoforos
Olympiacos have been ruled out of the European competitions this year due to the absymal results of the team in the Europa League group. While Olympiacos had their best game against Freiburg in Germany, it’s 2 late goals that leave us begging the question: what could have been had we not conceded that goal in stoppage time away to Nantes. What could have been if we hadn’t conceded late against Freiburg away. The question could even be extended to the Maccabi game away in Israel.
The last match in Group G is a home game with FC Nantes. A game in which, practically Olympiacos has nothing to play for but a win will merely put an end to this season’s European nightmare. Michel’s plan is simple: the squad will be heavily rotated and include reserves who haven’t had much playing time under his reign. This means that we are likely to see players like Bowler or Cisse challenge for a place in the starting lineup .
On Sunday Olympiacos plays the most important match of the season against Panathinaikos in Leoforos, so the starters have to rest to be 100% ready for this match. In the prematch press conference, Michel admitted that “we have one eye on the upcoming derby on Sunday” and we’d be lying if we said otherwise. The predicted lineup for the Nantes game will likely include: Tzolakis in goal (without rulling out Paschalakis) Kalogeropoulos, Cisse or Retsos at centre back and Androutsos and Vrousai at wing backs with Vrsaljko an outsider to start on the right.Vrsaljko's form makes Olympiacos coach feel uneasy about him being on the starting lineup but Michel wants a big rotation in this match because Panathinaikos remains the main focal point for his choices of personnel..In the midfield Bouchalakis and Kunde will likely start, with Josh Bowler and Abou Kamara running on the flanks. Upfront El Arabi will partner up with Hwang Ui Jo.
The French side need the win in order to qualify for the Europa League 32 stage. If Qarabag fail to win against Freiburg, FC Nantes can continue in the Europa League with a win tonight.
It's an opportunity tonight for some players to catch the attention of Michel, who stated yesterday that this game is a chance for some players to prove that “he was wrong” for not choosing them previously. Despite a heavily rotated team, Olympiacos will want to control possesion and manufacture chances in order to win the match. Olympiacos players have to give something to the fans. The fans and the organization cannot fathom a European campaign without a single victory. It’s an opportunity to go out with our heads held high before focusing our full attention on the domestic league. And who knows, maybe we with a good result tonight, we can pull a few rabbits out of the hat: more specifically, players that can be counted on in the games ahead. Win tonight ! Show us there is hope of an Olympiacos comeback this season!
KICK OFF TONIGHT: 19:45 local time. Let’s go!