In this week's final round of Europa League group games, Olympiakos host AC Milan in a game which should determine the outcome of Group F.
Milan go into the game in second place, one point behind Real Betis. Olympiakos sit in third place and a win would see them level on points with Milan in second place where goal difference would ultimately decide who goes through.
Let’s see how our #UEL Group F opponents faired in their respective leagues before the final group match 🔎 https://t.co/9gz99cS2eE— AC Milan (@acmilan) December 11, 2018
A due giorni dall'ultima partita nel girone, vediamo i risultati di Olympiacos e Real Betis nei rispettivi campionati 🔎 https://t.co/ikM7vwom42 pic.twitter.com/0sHSndtbhe
It should be a tough encounter for both sides with each team still fighting for qualification into the next round.
Check out 90min's preview of the game below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Thursday 13 December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Karaiskakis Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||BT Sport 1|
Olympiakos have a relatively clean bill of health at the moment. It seems that only 25-year-old centre forward Ahmed Hassan will be a certain to be out for this match. The striker suffered a knee injury back in November and his expected return to fitness is currently unknown.
The Rossoneri on the other hand have a much longer injury list to deal with. Giacomo Bonaventura, Lucas Biglia, Mattia Caldara, and Mateo Musacchio are all out for the long term and won't be back this year.
On top of this, Alessio Romagnoli and Ivan Strinic not expect to make it in time. While Andrea Conti in not eligible to feature for the club in the tournament.
|Olympiakos||Sa; Koutris, Vukovic, Cisse, Torosidis; Nahuel, Guilherme, Fortounis, Camara, Elabdellaoui; Guerrero.|
|AC Milan||Reina; Calabria, Zapata, Abate, Rodriguez; Suso, Keisse, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu; Cutrone, Higuain.|
Head to Head Record
The two sides have already faced one another earlier on in the group back in October when Milan hosted - and the home side came out on top comfortably on that occasion. Despite falling 1-0 down to a 14th minute strike from Miguel Guerrero, Milan hit back with three goals in the space of ten minutes. Patrick Curone hit a double, sandwiching a Gonzalo Higuain strike, to see the Italian side come away with all three points.
In the rare - just three - times these two have faced off another in Europe, Milan have never lost a game. Of course they won in the last fixture between the two, and then also won once before then and have drawn the other game. A win for Olympiakos would be the first over I Rossoneri in the club's history.
In Greece, Olympiakos have endured a frustrating time in the league so far. Despite sitting in third position on a reasonable 27 points from 13 games, they still find themselves a way off from the top. League leaders PAOK have enjoyed an unbeaten league season so far, having won all but one of the 13 games.
The last time the side played in Europe they fell 1-0 to group leaders Real Betis, however a 5-1 thrashing of Dudelange - the team bottom of the group - earlier on in the competition has at least given them a decent goal difference (just two shy of Milan) which could decide matters when the final whistle blows.
Milan themselves also find themselves way off the top when it comes to league football. But the Serie A was never going to be realistic target this term with Juventus and Napoli likely to battle it out for that accolade. Sitting in fourth place, Gennaro Gattuso's men will far more likely be concerned with catching up on their biggest rivals, Inter, who sit just three points ahead of them in the league.
A 0-0 home draw against Torino last time out in Serie A was a disappointing way to drop points but if Milan can secure qualification into the next round of the Europa league that disappointment will soon be forgotten. In their last European game, just like their Greek counterparts, Milan also put five goals past Dudelange. Those goals really could make all the difference if Milan fail to win this time out.
Here's how the two sides have performed in their last five fixtures:
|Xanthi 1-1 Olympiakos (9/12)||Milan 0-0 Torino (09/12)|
|Olympiakos 2-1 Panetolikos (3/12)||Milan 2-1 Parma (2/12)|
|Real Betis 1-0 Olympiakos (29/11)||Milan 5-2 Dudelange (29/11)|
|Atromitos 1-2 Olympiakos (25/11||Lazio 1-1 Milan (11/25)|
|Olympiakos 1-1 Panathinaikos (11/11)||Milan 0-2 Juventus (11/11)|
With both teams playing for potential qualification into the next round, expect this one to be a feisty encounter. Though Milan sit in front with a three point lead and a better goal difference, it's hard to imagine Gattuso's men cruising through this one.
With league football serving up disappointment, Olympiakos will be focusing all their energies on this match. And it might just be enough for them to get the win, but possibly not enough for them to qualify. A better goal difference should just be enough to see Milan into the next round.
Prediction: Olympiakos 2-1 AC Milan