Champions league: Olympiacos vs. Real Madrid

Olympiacos would do well by watching the video of Madrid’s last league match against Sevilla, as it has a lot of answers on how to beat Real Madrid. The Spanish leaders travel to Greece still with a sting in their tail and need to put on a good show here in this fourth Champions league game. The Greek side, fourth in their league and without a home defeat since March, need three main ingredients to get the three points and practically cement their presence in the knock out stages. The first is a hostile environment and that is going to be their most important asset. If they go out onto the pitch and refuse to let Real Madrid play their flowing, passing football they could well win here. Sevilla know exactly how to play against Madrid. Pressure the defenders, close down any spaces and be extremely aggressive.

The good news for Real Madrid is that both Sneijder and Pepe return from injury. The bad news is that Guti is out of contention due to a muscle strain he picked up from the Sevilla game and Robben and Higuain are both still out injured. Without Guti controlling the midfield and sending out his pinpoint passes to break the Greek defense, Real Madrid are going to have a hard time getting the ball to Raul or Van Nistelroy. Everything here is screaming of a victory for the locals and Madrid had better watch out or they will be struggling to qualify.

Olympiacos are doing pretty well this season. They are third in the league and have yet to lose a league game. The only match they have lost was curiously away to Real Madrid, and they were very unlucky not to get a point or even all three. They were twice in front at the Bernabeu stadium and were it not for Madrid’s talented players (and Robinho in particular) the outcome could well have been very different. The Greek side will be without their mastermind in midfield, Ledesma, as well as the defender Torosidis, who picked up a red card in his last European outing.

I’m going for a Greek win in this match. Madrid have an important absence in the injured Guti, as well as the team not being in the best of health mentally after that Sevilla defeat. All the pressure will be on the Spanish club and Olympiacos just need to go out onto the pitch and enjoy the moment.

Prediction: Home win (2-1)

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