Prediction and betting picks for Tuesday’s battle at Karaiskaki
It would not be an exaggeration to say this is the match of the season for Olympiacos. The players must find the way to get the win against Montpellier not only because they will have a serious advantage for the third place but also to increase their chances for the second place against the favorites of the Group, Schalke and Arsenal.
We will need to go way back in season 2004-05 to find the last home win of Olympiakos against a French club. It was 17th February 2005 when Olympiakos faced Sochaux for the UEFA Cup with Okkas scoring the winning goal at 29’.
Despite their strong home performances, the Greek champions have not managed to win a French team since then. The list of matches:
01/11/2005: Olympiakos vs. Lyon 1-4
18/02/2009: Olympiakos vs. Saint-Étienne 1-3
23/02/2010: Olympiakos vs. Bordeaux 0-1
23/11/2011: Olympiakos vs. Marseille 0-1
Probable lineup, Problems, Absences
Defenders: Torossidis, Manolas, Siovas, Holebas
Midfielders: Modesto, Maniatis, Massado, Greco, Abdoun
Problems – absences: Djebbour (FWD) has a knee injury but the coach will wait until the last minute to decide if the player will be included in the roster.
Analysis: Olympiacos – Montpellier
Super League Greece teams have nothing to do with the European opponents of Olympiacos. This season the league will probably be a one club show for the Champions. When they are in the mood there is not a Greek team that can stop them and this has both positive and negative consequences. The negative is that under these circumstances the players are less motivated and they cannot improve as much. The positive is that Olympiakos practically has the luxury of resting key players before every European match.
Montpellier has a very poor start on the French Ligue 1 but no comparisons can be made between the two leagues. When you see a league that a club like Montpellier can win the title it means that we are talking about some serious competition. It is not easy to stand up against Lyon, Paris Saint Germain, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille and so many other respected clubs. Once you do it surely is much more difficult to repeat it. Their weak start this season is no mystery; everybody wants a win against the champions. After the first negative results it is hard to gain back the lost confidence.
I had to write down all this league analysis to explain why I believe the players of Montpellier have the advantage in this match. They play difficult and important matches all season long, not once every fifteen days. Olympiakos may be desperate for the win but they will but if you do take a look at their season’s stats (until now) you will soon realize they play better in away matches both in Europe and France. I have concluded that this has more to do with their stress to satisfy the fans with a home win. When they play away things are quite different and less stressful.
It is up to the supporters
The key for a possible win of Olympiakos today will be the help of the fans. The crisis has changed a lot of things in Greece and Olympiakos was not an exception. Normally the tickets would be sold out a week ago but the financial crisis and the weakened roster of this season have reduced the attendance especially in domestic matches. Logically the remaining tickets will be sold by Tuesday. The home strength of Olympiakos relies on the fans that can create a living hell for the opponent. It is all up to them right now. If Olympiakos will have a good start the enthusiastic crowd will give the extra push the team needs for the win. If not, I am afraid this match can easily end like the last home match against Schalke.
Personally I have no trust on this season’s roster. It has nothing to do with the coach or the tactic. Olympiakos does not have the quality players of former seasons. They have many young and talented players that have potential to grow into key players but it is a mystery how they will react now that the ball will be “hot”. The only thing I am sure is they will try a lot; they know how important it is for the fans and they will not disappoint them.
The odds offered on the home win are a mix of Olympiakos motive and Montpellier’s negative season start. I would not hesitate for a moment if the home win was offered at 2.10-2.15. However odds like 1.85-1.95 for matches tricky as this one do not worth the risk. Olympiakos received two goals last Monday by the passionate youngsters of Aris. Why on earth shouldn’t they receive one against Montpellier? After all they did receive one in the last match and they should thank the players of Montpellier for their decision to protect their advantage instead of trying to score another one. That worked for Olympiakos’ benefit so I will not blame them for doing it. 🙂
Coyote’s bet: both teams to score @ 1.95
I consider the two clubs to be almost equal and this is the second consecutive match between them in 15 days. I cannot take a second Olympiakos’ win for granted. What I do believe is that the two clubs will fight hard for their own reasons. Like in the first match, I expect we will have goals scored by both sides.
Other bets and tips: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.15
In my scenario the winner will be the team that manages to score twice. I sincerely hope that the Greek Champions will be that team. If they play like they did in the last minutes of the first match they will have no problem.