UEL round of 16: Olympiakos – Beşiktaş

Updated: March 9, 2017

Beşiktaş square off with Greek giants Olympiakos tonight during their first leg fixture in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, the match will be played on the Greeks home turf while the return leg takes place next week Thursday at Vodafone Arena.

The bookies have Beşiktaş listed as their favourites to go through, which is largely down to the Greeks poor run of form which culminated in the sacking of their, now former, coach Paolo Bento last week after their 2-0 defeat at the hands of rivals PAOK Thessaloniki. Despite Olympiakos’ “poor run”, they are still firmly in the lead domestically and have reached the Europa League round of 16 by eliminating Osmanlispor (agg 3-0) in the previous round.

Ricardo Quaresma will have to sit out the next league game (vs Kayserispor) due to yellow card accumilation, so he can focus entirely on the European clash with Greek champions Olympiakos.

Before his departure Bento introduced several young Greek players to the team, whereas Olympiakos was once a team of “forgotten stars” such as Rivaldo. They’re now more a team of talented young Greek players, although they still have the odd experienced player like former Benfica and Trabzonspor striker Óscar Cardozo. Another familiar face on the Olympiakos squad is central defender Manuel da Costa, who previously played for Sivasspor for several years and is a notorious threat on set-pieces, having 8 goals to his name in two seasons in the Turkish Süper Lig.

The Black Eagles have recovered both Adriano and Aboubakar, who had missed the first leg of the previous round due to suspensions, and are largely at full strength. Even Caner Erkin has been included in the matchday squad, although it’s unlikely that he’ll be getting any minutes before the International break.

Some minor rotation is expected to take place with Vincent Aboubakar and Tolgay Arslan both expected to start while Cenk Tosun and Oğuzhan Özyakup are expected to be given some rest and starting on the bench. Dusko Tosic is expected to take his place in the centre of defence instead of Atınç Nukan.

Previous meetings and more

  • The teams are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition but were drawn together in the preliminary round of the 1958/59 European Champion Clubs’ Cup; Olympiacos withdrew due to political problems between Greece and Turkey, and Beşiktaş progressed to the first round (where they lost to Real Madrid).
  • The clubs have contested friendly games for the last two summers; Olympiacos won 2-1 in 2015, but Beşiktaş triumphed 1-0 in August 2016.
  • Olympiacos have played five matches against Turkish sides in UEFA competition with the record: W2 D1 L2 (W1 D1 in Greece – W1 L2 in Turkey). In the round of 32 against Osmanlıspor they prevailed 3-0 in Turkey after a goalless first-leg draw.
  • Beşiktaş drew both of their previous UEFA meetings with Greek sides; 1-1 at home and 2-2 away against Asteras Tripolis in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League group stage.
  • This is the second time the reigning champions of Greece and Turkey have met in UEFA competition, following Galatasaray’s 1-0 home win against Olympiacos in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage.

Olympiakos Piraeus (GRC) – Beşiktaş JK (TUR)
Location: Stadio Georgios Karaiskáki
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Date: Thursday, March 9th
Time: 21:05 CET
Channel: TRT 1 HD
Round of 16 first leg

Olympiakos predicted XI:

Nicola Leali; Diogo Figuieras – Manuel da Costa – Bolía – Cissokho; Panagiotis Retsos – Tarik Elyounoussi – Konstantinos Fortounis; Karim Ansarifard – Óscar Cardozo – André Martins

Beşiktaş predicted XI:

Fabricio Ramirez; Gökhan Gönül – Marcelo Guedes – Dusko Tosic – Adriano Correia; Atiba Hutchinson– Tolgay Arslan – Anderson Talisca; Ryan Babel – Vincent Aboubakar – Ricardo Quaresma

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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
Freelance sports writer specialized in Turkish football and Beşiktaş. Co-host of the Black Eagles podcast. Frequently featured in World Soccer Digest Japan and many other international media outlets. Following Turkish football for close to two decades. Proud father to Aedin.
Kaan Bayazit
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