Olympiakos - Eintracht Preview: A Group-Deciding Game
After two weeks, Olympiakos will once again face off against Eintracht Frankfurt in an extremely crucial match that could impact the way the ‘Erythrolefki’ approach the remaining European games, and the competition as a whole. As we all remember, the last game against Eintracht did not end exactly how we hoped; however, returning back to our Fortress, with an idea of the brand of football that our opponents play, puts us in a good position to prepare effectively for this clash.
Olympiakos go into the match following a Greek League win against Panetolikos in Agrinio, that was not in the slightest of ways convincing. The red-and-white fought hard to scrape the 3 points away, thanks to a converted penalty, by none other than the ‘Killer’ Youssef El Arabi.
Following their previous Europa League win, Eintracht have held slightly poor form in the German Bundesliga, going down to VfL Bochum 2-0, and walking away with a point after a 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig. However, by no means does this suggest that they are to be underestimated going into this week’s Europa League game, as they have shown that on their day that they are a tough side for any team to go against. In recent news, key players for Eintracht, Filip Kostic and Ajdin Hrustic, did not train with their squad in the lead up to the game against Olympiakos.
In our previous meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt, they did not seem completely unbeatable. Our loss can be more attributed to the lack of attacking play and inability to hold possession by Pedro Martins’ men. In some way, this can lead us Olympiakos supporters to be optimistic towards the Europa League clash, in that if these errors can be altered, there are high hopes that our previous misfortunes will not impact the match and we can secure the 3 points in front of home fans.
It will be interesting to see how Pedro Martins lines up the squad for the match against the Germans. Does he revert back to the 4-2-3-1 formation that helped propel the Thrylos to a 0-3 win away in Turkey against Fenerbahce? Or does Martins elect to go for the 4-3-3 that we have seen glimpses of throughout the season, including the 3-1 loss in the hands of Eintracht? Personally, the 4-2-3-1 formation has demonstrated its effectiveness in terms of closing opponents’ passing lanes as well as applying pressure in all areas of the pitch, so why should we change it?
It is vital to consider that in these big European games, it is not time to try new tactics and experiment with the starting XI. Instead, we need to stick with what has proven to work against quality opponents to maintain our serious ambitions of performing highly in this current European campaign. A win at home will see us back into 1st place in the group by a margin of 2 points, with games against Fenerbahce at home and Antwerp away to follow. However, a loss against Eintracht could apply unnecessary pressure upon Olympiakos, with Fenerbahce providing a looming threat to gain a qualification spot in the group.
In an ever-so critical match, we need to see an Olympiakos side who is eager for revenge and will fight to secure all 3 points against Eintracht. Given that in recent occasions, performances have been quite lacklustre from the Erythrolefki, we want to seen a team who is reminiscent of previous years, performing at a high level in European competitions. The derby against Eintracht holds the potential to create separation at the top of the group table for either side, illustrating the sheer importance the showdown holds for not only Olympiakos, but both teams.
In what will be an extremely fast paced and attacking game, I believe Olympiakos will prevail at home with the support of their ‘12th man’, 2-0.