Olympiacos on the edge as Barcelona visit

Olympiacos have lost their first three games and time is fast running out to make an impact as Group D leaders Barcelona visit looking to extend their perfect record.

Olympiacos after their matchday three defeat at Barcelona
Olympiacos after their matchday three defeat at Barcelona ©Getty Images

Olympiacos FC are fast running out of time if they are to challenge in Group D having lost their first three fixtures – and to revive their hopes, they must get a positive result against leaders FC Barcelona.

Beaten 3-1 in Spain on matchday three, the Greek champions will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose and second-placed Juventus avoid defeat at Sporting Clube de Portugal, or if Olympiacos draw and Juventus win.

• Barcelona have a maximum nine points and will qualify for the round of 16 if they win and Sporting fail to beat Juventus, or if they draw and Juventus beat Sporting.

Match background

Olympiacos
• The Thrylos won their last home game against Spanish visitors, beating Club Atlético de Madrid 3-2 in the 2014/15 group stage. Their overall record at home to Spanish clubs is W6 D6 L2.

• That Atlético success was Olympiacos's first against a Spanish club, home and away, since a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid CF on matchday six in 2005/06. Their subsequent record was D1 L5.

Beaten 3-2 at home by Sporting Clube de Portugal on matchday one, Olympiacos have won only three of their last 12 European home matches (D5 L4).

• Olympiacos opened this season with a 5-3 aggregate success against FK Partizan in the third qualifying round (3-1 away, 2-2 home). They then got the better of HNK Rijeka in the play-off round, coming through 2-1 at home and 1-0 away.

• That home victory against the Croatian team was Olympiacos's first in five European home games, ending a run of four successive draws on their own ground.

• Olympiacos are in the group stage for an 18th time. They lost to Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC in last season's third qualifying round, the first time they had missed out on the UEFA Champions League group stage since 2010/11.

• In 2016/17, the Greek side went on to reach the UEFA Europa League round of 16, falling 5-2 on aggregate to Beşiktaş JK.

• The Piraeus outfit earned a place in this season's qualifying rounds by winning their 44th Greek championship in 2016/17 – their seventh in a row.

Barcelona
• The Blaugrana have won ten of their 13 fixtures against Greek clubs, losing two. They are unbeaten in three away games (W2 D1), since a 1-0 loss at Panathinaikos FC in the 2001/02 quarter-final first leg (3-2 aggregate).

• Barcelona's record away to Greek clubs is W3 D1 L2. They also lost the 1994 UEFA Champions League final in Athens, going down 4-0 to AC Milan.

• Barça have won their last four matches against teams from Greece, including matchday three and the previous three which were all against Panathinaikos, including home (5-1) and away (3-0) victories in the 2010/11 group stage. Lionel Messi scored three of those goals and was also on target in the 5-0 thrashing of the Greens in 2005/06.

• The Spanish side are unbeaten in their last eight meetings with Greek opposition, home and away, winning seven.

• Barcelona were 1-0 victors at Sporting on matchday two but have lost three of their last five away games in the UEFA Champions League, including the 4-0 defeat at Paris in last season's round of 16 first leg and an ultimately crucial 3-0 quarter-final first-leg loss at Juventus. They have won five of their last 12 away matches in the competition, drawing two and losing five.

• This is Barcelona's record-equalling 22nd UEFA Champions League group stage campaign, and 14th in succession. They last failed to reach the last 16 in 2000/01, although they did not take part in 2003/04.

• The Blaugrana last failed to progress beyond the round of 16 in 2006/07; their last two campaigns have been ended in the quarter-finals, by Juventus last season and Club Atlético de Madrid in 2015/16.

Coach and player links
• Ernesto Valverde had two stints as Olympiacos head coach (2008/09 and 2010–12), leading them to three Super League titles and two Greek Cups. Assistant coach Jon Aspiazu and fitness trainer José Antonio Pozanko were with him at Olympiacos and have followed him to Barcelona.

• Alberto Botía joined the youth ranks of Barcelona aged 14, spent three years in their B side and made his sole senior appearance in the final Liga game of 2008/09, a 1-1 draw against RC Deportivo La Coruña.

• Botía also had spells at Sporting de Gijón (2009–12), Sevilla FC (2012/13) and Elche CF (2013/14). His record against Barça was W0 D1 L8.

• Marko Marin and Diogo Figueiras were part of Sevilla's UEFA Europa League-winning squad in 2013/14.

• Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe scored in Legia Warszawa's 3-3 draw against Real Madrid CF in last season's group stage.

• Mehdi Carcela-González is on loan at Olympiacos from Granada CF.

• Have played in Spain:
Saša Zdjelar (RCD Mallorca, 2017)
Karim Ansarifard (CA Osasuna, 2014/15)
Mehdi Carcela-González (Granada CF 2016–17)

• Has played in Greece:
Aleix Vidal (Panthrakikos FC, 2009)

• Have played together:
Mehdi Carcela-González & Nélson Semedo (SL Benfica, 2015–16)
Alberto Botía & Sergio Busquets (Barcelona B, 2007–08)
Guillaume Gillet & Thomas Vermaelen (Belgium)

Match facts

Olympiacos
• Omar Elabdellaoui and Alaixys Romao are one booking away from a ban.

• Olympiacos won 1-0 at home to PAOK FC in the league on 22 October and 3-0 at Acharnaikos FC in the Greek Cup group stage on 25 October – but were beaten 1-0 by local rivals Panathinaikos FC on Saturday.

• Olympiacos became the first team in Greece's top tier to reach 2,400 goals when Björn Engels scored the only goal – his first for the club – against PAOK.

• The victory against PAOK was the first time this season that Olympiacos had kept a clean sheet at their Stadio Georgios Karaiskakis.

• Emmanuel Emenike returned to action following a calf injury against Acharnaikos, scoring his side's third goal.

• Sebá underwent arthroscopy surgery on his knee on 21 October and is expected to return after the November international break.

• El Fardou Ben Nabouhane has not played since suffering a hip strain in the league encounter against Atromitos FC on 1 October.

• Botía missed the league encounter against PAOK with a slight injury but has returned to normal training since. He was an unused substitute on Saturday.

• Elabdellaoui has signed a three-year extension to his deal with Olympiacos, keeping him at the club until June 2021.

Barcelona
• Gerard Piqué serves a one-match ban after being sent off against Olympiacos on matchday three. Nélson Semedo will incur a suspension with his next booking.

• Barcelona are unbeaten in 14 matches in all competitions, winning 13, and have kept ten clean sheets during that run.

• Lionel Messi has 19 goals in 19 outings for club and country this term after striking in Saturday's 2-0 win at Athletic Club that kept Barcelona four points clear in the Liga.

• Messi scored his 100th goal in UEFA club competition on matchday three. He is on 97 in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final.

• Gerard Deulofeu scored in back-to-back games for Barcelona for the first time, notching in the 2-0 Liga win at home to Málaga CF on 21 October then in the 3-0 victory at Real Murcia in the Copa del Rey three days later.

• Messi came second, picking up 19.25% of the vote, when The Best FIFA Men's Player 2017 award was announced on 23 October. The Argentinian forward and Andrés Iniesta were also named in the FIFA FIFPro World11.

• Messi and Luis Suárez are on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, the winner of which will be revealed on 6 December.

• Ousmane Dembélé will miss the rest of the group stage with a hamstring injury sustained in the 2-1 comeback victory at Getafe CF on 16 September.

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