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Second meets third in UEFA Champions League Group C at the Stadio Olimpico in a fixture which will go a long way to deciding the fate of both hosts S.S. Lazio and their visitors Olympiacos CFP.
• With two matches to play, Lazio and Olympiacos sit level on five points having each recorded one win, two draws and one defeat – not to mention identical goal differences of six scored and six conceded. There was nothing to separate them in Greece on Matchday 1 – where Luciano Zauri equalised Luciano Galletti's opener with 13 minutes remaining – and both sides know that a victory here will take them into the last 16 so long as Werder Bremen do not defeat Real Madrid CF in the section's other game.
• Lazio have not progressed to the knockout stages since 1999/00, when they made it to the quarter-finals. Since then they have suffered first-stage eliminations in 2001/02 and 2003/04.
• Olympiacos have had to wait even longer for a semblance of success in the UEFA Champions League. Since reaching the quarter-finals in 1998/99, they have failed to get past the initial group stage for eight seasons running. However, Panagiotis Lemonis's team appear to be playing with renewed belief on the continental stage after putting a 31-match winless run on their travels behind them when they triumphed at Bremen on Matchday 2.
• Olympiacos came from a goal down to win 3-1 at the Weserstadion courtesy of goals in the closing 17 minutes from Ieroklis Stoltidis, Christos Patsatzoglou and Darko Kovačević.
• They then overcame the early dismissal of Vassilis Torosidis to give Real Madrid a scare at the Santiago Bernabéu on Matchday 3 before eventually succumbing 4-2. After falling behind, goals from Galletti (seven minutes) and Júlio César (47) put Olympiacos in front before Madrid regained the advantage with three goals in the final quarter. After those encouraging away displays, Olympiacos duly earned a goalless home draw with Madrid last time out.
• Lazio revived their hopes on Matchday 4 by beating Bremen 2-1 thanks to a Tommaso Rocchi double. In doing so, Delio Rossi's charges provided the perfect response to their 2-1 loss against the Bundesliga team a fortnight earlier when Christian Manfredini's 82nd-minute effort came too late to rescue a point.
• Prior to the Bremen double-header, Lazio had drawn at Olympiacos and then held Madrid 2-2 in Rome, Goran Pandev twice finding an equaliser to Ruud van Nistelrooy goals.
• Lazio are unbeaten in six previous matches against Greek sides having recorded three wins and three draws. Their only two home games against visitors from Greece both produced victories: 3-0 against Panionios GSS in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals and 4-0 against Skoda Xanthi FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup.
• Olympiacos earned a 1-1 draw against AS Roma at the Stadio Olimpico in last season's group stage, Júlio César putting the visitors in front after 19 minutes before Francesco Totti levelled for the Giallorossi after the restart. Their overall record in Italy is two wins, one draw and six defeats from nine matches.
• Olympiacos's much-travelled forward Kovačević spent the 2001/02 season on loan at Lazio from Juventus and made three UEFA Champions League appearances for the club.
• Lionel Scaloni and Luciano Galletti are not only fellow Argentinian internationals but also featured in the same Club Estudiantes de la Plata team for a short period in the late 1990s.
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