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Olympiacos FC midfielder Vassilis Torosidis is hoping his side can achieve the "dream" of continuing their UEFA Champions League run into the quarter-finals, with rivals FC Girondins de Bordeaux out to spoil the adventure in Tuesday's first knockout round opener.
The Greek side sealed their place in the last 16 by finishing behind Arsenal FC in Group H, thanks in large part to their home form. They won all their matches at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, conceding just once, and will keen to add Bordeaux to their list of victims in the first leg. "We've achieved our goal by making it to the last 16 and now we want this dream, if you can call it that, of going further," said Torosidis. "This would be very important for us and would bring joy to everyone in Greece."
Božidar Bandović's men have also been in impressive form on the domestic stage of late, recovering from the sacking of two coaches earlier in the season to reduce Panathinaikos FC's lead at the Super League summit from eight points to two in the space of a few weeks. They could only draw 1-1 with Ergotelis FC on Saturday, but the return to the club of striker Lomana LuaLua in January – the same month Bandović replaced Zico – and Matt Derbyshire's recovery from a groin injury have undeniably fed confidence.
"We have recovered mentally and physically in recent weeks and we are psychologically ready to progress in this competition," explained Torosidis, who joined from Skoda Xanthi FC in 2007. "We want to win the domestic title but we also want to make it to the quarter-finals."
The Greek international is nonetheless wary of Laurent Blanc's visitors, who amassed more points than any other team in the group stage on their way to topping a section featuring FC Bayern München and Juventus. "They have very good players, but above all they are a very good team with great spirit," said the 24-year-old. "If we remain focused and serious we can take something from the game and this will be important for every team in Greece because the more games we all win, the easier it is to gain places in European competitions."
To help the Red and Whites record that much-cherished result, Torosidis urged the team's supporters to be in full voice for the occasion, with Olympiacos looking to progress further than they did in 2007/08 when they fell to Chelsea FC at this stage. "We need them next to us," he said. "We all know how important their support is: they can help us take on any opponent."
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