At the heart of Olympiacos's impressive Group F performance, Kostas Fortounis talks to UEFA.com about his maiden campaign and their ambitions ahead of the trip to Bayern München.
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Needing one point from their last two games to make the knockout phase, Olympiacos have surprised many in UEFA Champions League Group F and 23-year-old attacking midfielder Kostas Fortounis has been at the heart of things.
Having developed initially in the Piraeus club's youth system he left for spells with Asteras Tripolis and Kaiserslautern before making a serious impact upon his return. The Greek international tells UEFA.com about his maiden UEFA Champions League season and how far his side can go as they visit Bayern München on Tuesday.
UEFA.com: You made your UEFA Champions League debut this season. How was that experience?
Kostas Fortounis: It has been amazing. It's the best tournament with the best teams. The players are very good at this level, and I believe playing in this competition is the best thing that can happen to a player.
UEFA.com: Three wins in four games makes this Olympiacos's best group performance at this point. What are the reasons for your success?
Fortounis: We have built a great team, a very good unit. Every player gives 100% and we are very focused in all the games because all the opponents are very dangerous. We have made a good start and now we need one more point to make it through.
UEFA.com: Your set pieces have been key to Olympiacos's progress. Do you practise them regularly?
Fortounis: Set pieces are a matter of hard work. Like any player, I try to work on them during and after training. I believe that you become better through hard work. We've scored a lot of goals from set pieces this season, and I am delighted that I can give assists to my team-mates.
UEFA.com: The win at Arsenal was the first ever achieved by your club in England. How big a moment was that?
Fortounis: It was a big step forward. We needed a big away win to stir up the group because we knew Bayern would be leaders so we were fighting for second place. Beating Arsenal at their place was a tremendous success. We played very good football. Now we're moving on and looking forward to the next game.
UEFA.com: This season you're playing an important part in the attack. Tell us about your role.
Fortounis: Since [Olympiacos coach] Marco Silva came [in July] he has given me a free role on the pitch. I move in any direction, right and left, and I like that. I've always wanted to play this way since I was a boy and now I've found my way of playing. I'm continuing to work hard and I believe that better things are ahead.
I like it when I have my back to an opponent and can move immediately into the free space when I receive a penetrating pass. I like to control the ball and get past my opponent into space.
UEFA.com: Next up are Bayern. How will you approach the game?
Fortounis: It's a very difficult match. We all know that Bayern are in incredible form and they have great players but we'll go there and try to deliver a strong performance. We must watch our defence above all, try not to concede, and score a goal if we are given an opportunity.
UEFA.com: How far can Olympiacos go this season?
Fortounis: Our initial target was to progress to the last 16 and I believe we are very close to achieving that. We need one more point. If we manage to do that our next target will be the quarter-finals. But first, we have to qualify from the group.