Olympiacos CFP, flying the flag for Greece, will be hoping it will be a case of third-time lucky as they target a winning start against S.S. Lazio in Group C.
Olympiacos CFP will be hoping it will be a case of third-time lucky as they target a winning start against S.S. Lazio in Group C. The Greek champions' disappointing away record in the UEFA Champions League – no wins in their last 31 outings – makes it imperative they collect points on home soil yet in the past two seasons they started with home defeats and never recovered.
• Last year Valencia CF won 4-2 at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium while in 2005/06 Rosenborg BK triumphed 3-1 and both times Olympiacos ended the group stage rooted to the foot of the table.
• Lazio, returning to this competition after a three-season absence, could provide tough resistance having already tasted victory on their travels in Europe this season. In addition, they will travel to Piraeus with an unbeaten record against Greek opposition.
• The third-placed team in Serie A last term, Lazio secured their place in the group stage by defeating FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti in the third qualifying round.
• Delio Rossi's men did it the hard way against the Romanian champions, emerging 4-2 aggregate winners despite falling behind in both matches. After Massimo Mutarelli's second-half equaliser cancelled out Ionel Danciulescu's opener in a 1-1 draw in Rome, Lazio won the return 3-1, retrieving a half-time deficit to prevail through goals from Tommaso Rocchi (2) and Goran Pandev.
• Olympiacos were the only Greek team to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, earning an automatic group stage berth having won their national title for the third consecutive season.
• This is their eleventh consecutive season in Europe's élite club competition – but only once in that time, in 1998/99, have they survived beyond the opening stage of group matches.
• In 2006/07 Olympiacos finished at the foot of their group having recorded three draws and three defeats in six matches. At home they claimed just a single point and went down 1-0 at home to Lazio's neighbours AS Roma, Simone Perrotta scoring the only goal on 76 minutes.
• Overall Olympiacos have won four, drawn four and lost ten of their 18 previous matches against Italian opposition.
• Lazio are unbeaten in previous five matches against Greek sides, including a win and two draws away from home. Their most recent visit to Greece was in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage for a 2-2 draw with Egaleo FC in a group-stage match. That campaign, which ended after the group stage, was Lazio's last in Europe prior to this season.
• The Rome club's most recent appearance in the UEFA Champions League was in 2003/04, a campaign that ended with the Biancocelesti placed bottom of their section. In that campaign, Lazio recorded one win – against Besiktas JK - and two defeats away from home.
• This will be the first European outing for Panagiotis Lemonis in his second spell at Olympiacos coach. His UEFA Champions League record in his first spell, between 2000 and 2002, was two wins, two draws and six losses from ten fixtures.
• Olympiacos's much-travelled forward Darko Kovačević spent the 2001/02 season on loan at Lazio from Juventus and made five 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.