Manuel Veth –
Olympiacos vs Bayern Munich – Tuesday, October 22, 20:00BST/21:00CEST – Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis, Piraeus, Greece
Olympiacos head into the toughest game of the group stage with several question marks. Number one, who is going to play up front?
The Greeks will be without top scorer Hillel Soudani. The Algerian has scored four goals this season but was expected to leave the club this summer and was, therefore, not listed for Champions League games. Yassine Benzia will be suspended after his double-booking against Crvena zvezda and Mathieu Valbuena will also miss the game.
“We are not afraid of Bayern,” goalkeeper José Sa said this week. “Our plan is to play for all three points.” Sure the Karaiskakis can be a cauldron for international games but against Bayern Munich are a giant.
A giant, who will head into the match against Olympiacos with some major question marks as well—Bayern have conceded ten goals in eight Bundesliga games this season. Add to that two goals conceded in the Champions League against Tottenham.
Those defensive issues date back to last season and have been a constant in the Niko Kovač era. Bayern hoped to have rectified those problems by signing Lucas Hernández and Benjamin Pavard. The two French defenders won the World Cup with France in 2018, but the defensive issues have remained the same this season.
Defensive problems that will not be helped by Niklas Süle’s injury. The big defender tore his ACL in Bayern’s 2-2 draw against Augsburg on Saturday. “The injury is looking serious,” Kovač said after the game. “It’s the worst thing that happened today.”
Fortunately for Bayern, the club could not find a suitable destination for defender Jérôme Boateng. The former national team defender will now play a crucial role in the months without Süle.
But what sort of impact will the injury have on Tuesday’s game? Bayern should have enough quality to see off Olympiacos. The backline is always good for a goal, which means that Bayern will be the likely winner but could once again leak a goal.
Olympiacos vs Bayern Munich – Players to look out for:
#10 – Olympiacos
In the absence of several attacking players, Daniel Podence could be one of the players asked to chip in with extra goals. The 24-year-old Portuguese midfielder has, however, scored just two goals in 15 games across all competitions this season. Not enough for a player that can play on either attacking wing or right behind a striker.
Lucas Hernández #21 – Bayern Munich
Lucas Hernández has not quite yet lived up to his €80 million billing. The defender, however, was identified as Atlético’s most painful departure last week. Capable of playing several positions, Hernández will likely move from the wing-back to the centre-back position in Süle’s absence. There the French defender will have to show a bigger presence then was the case in the last few matchdays.
Olympiacos vs Bayern Munich – Match Stats
- Bayern have scored 14 goals in their four matches against Olympiacos, keeping clean sheets in the last three fixtures.
- Olympiacos have lost their last five games against Bundesliga sides, home and away, scoring only one goal while conceding 11.
- Bayern are unbeaten in their last ten European away games (W7 D3), scoring at least two goals in all but the goalless draw at Liverpool last season.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Olympiacos vs Bayern Munich – 1-4
Olympiacos vs Bayern Munich – Lineups
José Sa – Tsimikas, Meria, Semedo, Elabdellaoui – Camara, Bouchalakis, Guilherme – Masouras, Guerrero, Daniel Podence
Head Coach: Pedro Martins
Neuer – Alaba, Hernández, Pavard, Kimmich – Thiago, Tolisso – Coman, Coutinho, Gnabry – Lewandowski
Head Coach: Niko Kovač
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.