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Montpellier have little room for Olympiacos error

"It's like we're playing in a mini league with Olympiacos as our main rival," said Montpellier Hérault SC coach René Girard as the Group B back markers prepare to meet in Piraeus.

Montpellier coach René Girard
Montpellier coach René Girard ©AFP/Getty Images

He would not go so far as to define his side's UEFA Champions League Group B game at Olympiacos FC as "make or break", but René Girard knows his Montpellier Hérault SC side must avoid defeat in Piraeus if they are to retain any realistic hope of playing European football in the spring. The Greek champions, meanwhile, know that their secondary objective – a third-placed finish in the section – is in sight.

Leonardo Jardim, coach
It is an important match. If we win we are likely to secure qualification for the UEFA Europa League, which is one of our objectives, and we will also edge closer to our primary goal: to finish second in the group. Montpellier are a very difficult opponent, which they showed in France. We should not forget that they are French champions and are a very strong side with very good players. However, Olympiacos are also a very strong side with individual talent, and I believe that with the help of our supporters we will secure three more points.

Weekend result
Saturday: Olympiacos 2-0 OFI Crete (Mitroglou 42, Machado 55)
Carroll; Maniatis, Manolas, Siovas, Holebas; Machado, Fejsa, Greco; Vlachodimos (Fetfatzidis 73), Mitroglou (Pantelić 80), Abdoun (Lykogiannis 87).

• Paulo Machado's first goal in nearly a year contributed to Olympiacos's fourth successive home victory in all competitions. They remain undefeated in the league this season, winning eight of their nine fixtures.

Team news
Pablo Contreras (calf), Rafik Djebbour (knee) and Ariel Ibagaza (groin) will not play, though Tassos Papazoglou (dislocated shoulder) and David Fuster (groin) are available again.

René Girard, coach
I don't know if tomorrow's match is make or break, but we have to do what needs to be done. Olympiacos are very experienced in the Champions League. Arsenal and Schalke have the advantage. It's like we're playing in a mini league with Olympiacos as our main rival.

We have shown that we can take on any side, whether that is Arsenal, Olympiacos or Schalke. The French league is our priority, but that doesn't mean we don't want to do well and learn from our experience in the Champions League.

We will play our own game, be serious and look to avoid the mistakes we have made in our other Champions League games. It's an extremely important match and we can only have a hope of winning if we are serious. Playing with two forwards does give us an extra edge compared to playing with just one, but every player must do his duty.

Weekend result
Saturday: ES Troyes Aube Champagne 1-1 Montpellier (Camus 41; Belhanda 19)
Jourdren; Bocaly, Hilton, Congré, Bedimo; Saihi, Belhanda, Cabella (Marveaux 56), Camara; Utaka (Mounier 39), Charbonnier (Herrera 77).

• Having achieved back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they defeated FC Girondins de Bordeaux 1-0 in the French League Cup round of 16 on 31 October, Montpellier were held once more and are ten points behind Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain FC.

Team news
Garry Bocaly is available after serving a one-game ban following his dismissal on matchday two. John Utaka is still a doubt. Girard said the striker would be examined on Tuesday, with the coach "99% sure" of his starting lineup for the game.

Match fact
Olympiacos have lost their past four home games against visitors from France. The last time they defeated a Ligue 1 team at home came in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32 when they beat FC Sochaux-Montbéliard 1-0.