By 90Min
August 29, 2018

Burnley face an uphill task against a strong Olympiacos side on Thursday night as they look to get revenge on the side which cruelly beat them over in Athens less than a week ago.

Sean Dyche is currently working with a depleted squad as a number of key players remain on the sidelines as the Greek side travel to Turf Moor. The Clarets faithful will be hoping their players can turn around this tie in order to reach the Europa League group stages and keep their European tour alive.

Here is a preview of the play-off round clash.

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Last Time Out: Olympiacos 3-1 Burnley


A tale of two halves saw the Clarets leave Athens with a tough result to take as a Fortounis double and Bouchalakis header gave the former Greek champions a firm foot into the Europa League group stages.

Dyche made it clear he wasn't impressed with the conduct shown by Olympiacos officials who all crowded the referee at half time to vent their anger over decisions made which had seen the game go in 1-1 at the break, after a brilliant Fortounis free kick was cancelled out by a Chris Wood penalty.

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The second half proved to be a different tale after a Bouchalakis header made the Greeks retake the lead, before a dubious penalty decision that resulted in a red card for new Burnley defender Ben Gibson ensured Pedro Martins side would be victors on the night. 

Sam Vokes came on for the Clarets and had a late goal chalked off after the officials deemed it to be offside.


Team News

Sean Dyche may be without star man Jóhann Berg Gudmundsson, who picked up a hamstring injury on Sunday in his side's Premier League 4-2 loss to Fulham.


The injury to the Iceland international will likely see full-back Charlie Taylor deployed on the wing as the former Leeds player has shown his qualities in that position so far this season. 


New Signing Matěj Vydra may be in line for his first appearance for the Clarets as a special night could be in store for the Turf Moor faithful.

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Olympiacos find themselves with no injury woes ahead of the tie as they look to wreak further damage on the Clarets by setting up in a similar style as they did last week at the Karaiskakis Stadium.

Potential Burnley Starting Lineup: Heaton; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Long, Ward; Lennon, Cork, Hendrick, Taylor; Wood, Barnes.

Potential Olympiacos Starting Lineup: Gianniotis; Elabdellaoui, Miranda, Vukovic, Tsimikas; Bouchalakis, Camara; Christodoulopoulos, Fortounis, Podence; Guerrero.


Key Battles


Kostas Fortounis v James Tarkowski


As England international Tarkowski is set to step in for the suspended Gibson, he will look to shut down the Greeks' obvious threat in Fortounis. 

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The attacking midfielder showed his quality last week by running the the defence ragid, whilst scoring two goals and claiming one assist.

Tarkowski will want to stay on his feet when around the 25-year-old as the midfielders set pieces proved vital last week, as his goals came from a penalty and splendid 25 yard free kick. His assist came from a free kick from wide which was headed in by Bouchalakis.

Ashley Barnes v Roderick Miranda


Old fashioned centre forward Barnes was unplayable in the first half against the Greeks last time out. Pedro Martins' side did not know how to deal with the striker, who was winning free kicks left right and centre as well as ruffling up the Olympiacos defence.

With the home crowd behind him, Barnes will be up for the game so Miranda will have to produce a good performance to deal with the Bath-born player.

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Miranda will make sure he is not too close to the striker, as he thrives off being tightly marked as he tends to wriggle out of tight situations or win himself a free kick.


Prediction


As Burnley have to attack the Greek side in order to have a chance of progressing, there should be a high number of goals in this encounter. 

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With the Clarets expected to attack once again with two up top, it could see gaps opened for a counter attack for Olympiacos as Dyche's men have shown their vulnerability in the past.

It is due to be an entertaining game as both sides look to make the group stages of the prestigious Europa League. As Burnley can not be written off just yet, the crucial away goal scored by Wood in Athens could make all the difference.

Prediction: Burnley 2-0 Olympiakos 

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