Olympiacos obstacle for Schalke return
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Olympiacos FC begin the new campaign with a home game against FC Schalke 04 who were semi-finalists two seasons ago and are looking for their first ever matchday one victory.
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FC Schalke 04's last UEFA Champions League foray took them all the way to the semi-finals and they will be dreaming of reaching those heights again when they kick off a new campaign with an away game against Olympiacos FC.
• Schalke lost out to Manchester United FC in the 2010/11 last four and will be eager to make a positive start in Piraeus.
• This is the second successive season in which Olympiacos have faced German opposition in the group stage; 12 months ago they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium on matchday three.
• The Greek club have enjoyed some remarkable home games against German teams, including a 6-2 victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League first group stage and a 4-0 defeat by Hamburger SV in the 1982/83 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round.
• In six home competitive fixtures against Bundesliga opponents there have been a total of 29 goals scored, Olympiacos winning four of those matches with two losses.
• Olympiacos are in their 14th participation in the UEFA Champions League and will be hoping to at least match their feats of both 2009/10 and 2007/08 when they reached the round of 16.
• Last year's defeat of Dortmund followed a 1-0 home loss to Olympique de Marseille on matchday one. They also beat Arsenal FC 3-1 in Greece, and have won five of their last six home group games in the competition. They still finished only third in Group F last term.
• Schalke are making their fifth appearance in the competition; in their four previous campaigns they were defeated on matchday one without scoring a goal, against Olympique Lyonnais (0-1 away, 2010/11), Valencia CF (0-1 home, 2007/08), PSV Eindhoven (0-1 away, 2005/06) and Panathinaikos FC (0-2 home, 2001/02).
• The German club recovered from that Lyon loss to win seven of their next nine fixtures with the other two drawn. They finished first in their group before overcoming Valencia and holders FC Internazionale Milano in the knockout rounds but then came unstuck against Manchester United, losing 2-0 at home and 4-1 away.
• Kyriakos Papadopoulos played for Olympiacos from 2007 until 2010. Aged 15 years and 283 days, he became the youngest player to appear in the Greek league against Atromitos FC on 2 December 2007.
• Papadopoulos plays with Vassilis Torossidis, José Holebas, Avraam Papadopoulos, Dimitris Siovas, Giannis Maniatis, Kostas Mitroglou and Giannis Fetfatzidis for the Greece national side.
• Ciprian Marica scored the second equaliser for FC Shakhtar Donetsk in a 2-2 home draw with Olympiacos in a UEFA Champions League group stage fixture on 27 September 2006.
• Ibrahim Afellay scored once past half-time substitute Roy Carroll, his second of the game, in the Netherlands' 6-0 win against Northern Ireland in a friendly on 2 June 2012. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar appeared off the bench for the Dutch.
• Teemu Pukki also beat Carroll as Finland and Northern Ireland drew 3-3 in a friendly international on 15 August.
• Marko Pantelić and Marica were both on the scoresheet when Serbia beat Romania 3-2 away and 5-0 at home in qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
• Torossidis scored Greece's winner, making it 2-1, against a Nigeria team including Chinedu Obasi in the 2010 World Cup group stage.
• Mitroglou was brought up in Germany and started his career with VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach while Holebas was born in Bavaria and began his career with TSV 1860 München.
• Christian Fuchs scored his only international goal as Austria lost 2-1 to Greece in November 2010; Torossidis, Avraam Papadopoulos and Fetfatzidis, a substitute, were in the opposition.
• Mitroglou scored in Greece's 3-2 victory over Germany in the semi-finals of the 2007 UEFA European Under-19 Championship in Austria. Siovas was a substitute for Greece while Germany included Benedikt Höwedes.