Olympiacos FC vs HNK Rijeka
2017/18 UEFA Champions League Play-off
Date: Wednesday, 16th August 2017
Kick-off at 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Venue: Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium (Piraeus).
Olympiacos are keen to return to Champions League after missing the group stage last season for the first time since 2010/11. They were beaten in the third round last season, by the surprise pack from Israel Hapoel Beer Sheva.
This time, the Greek giants got past the first hurdle by defeating Partizan Belgrade 5-3 on aggregate (3-1 away, 2-2 home).
Their opponents Rijeka are looking for their first Champions League group phase appearance. They only other appearance in the qualifiers was on 1999, knocked out after losing both legs to Partizan Belgrade.
Rijeka smashed TNS from Wales in the second round 7-1 on aggregate before prevailing on away goal in the third round against Austrian giants RB Salzburg (0-0 home, 1-1 away).
Olympiacos vs Rijeka: Head-to-head
The first leg clash on Wednesday will be the first head-to-head meeting between Olympiacos and Rijeka.
Olympiacos have a record of 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss in 6 previous meetings with Croatian sides. They won all the three home matches of the series in convincing fashion.
This is Rijeka’s first meeting with a club from Greece in any UEFA competition.
Olympiacos vs Rijeka: Prediction
Rijeka have so far managed to hung in, managing only a pair of draws against a moderate team like Salzburg. They showed little intend to score which could prove too costly against a team of Olympiacos’ calibre. Also, their defense is hardly tested against quality sides.
It is clearly evident that Olympiacos provide a totally different proportion to the Croats. The Greeks are an attacking oriented team with plenty of European experience in their ranks. Learning from the mistakes in a similar tie last season, the Greeks are expected to be in top of their game.