Olympiacos out for winning return

Having parted company with coach Temuri Ketsbaia on Tuesday, Olympiacos FC are seeking a first Matchday 1 victory in four attempts as Dutch titleholders AZ Alkmaar come to Piraeus.

Having parted company with coach Temuri Ketsbaia on Tuesday, Olympiacos FC are seeking a first Matchday 1 victory in four attempts as Dutch titleholders AZ Alkmaar come to Piraeus.

• Olympiacos announced their Georgian coach's departure on Tuesday, amid concerns over the team's performances and his rapport with the squad. A club statement read: "Olympiacos have parted company with coach Temuri Ketsbaia by mutual agreement. Božidar Bandović will take over as caretaker coach, with Andreas Niniadis as his assistant."

• The Greek side launched their campaign two years ago with a 1-1 home draw against S.S. Lazio, an improvement on the two previous seasons in which both Valencia CF (4-2) and Rosenborg BK (3-1) earned Matchday 1 victories at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

Previous meetings
• On the eight occasions Olympiacos have faced teams from the Netherlands, victory has gone to the home team six times with two draws, the visitors scoring in only one of those eight matches.

• AZ have a 100 per cent record in their three fixtures against opponents from Greece.

Match background
• The Greek champions are undertaking their 12th group-stage campaign having enjoyed eleven consecutive seasons among Europe's élite before last year.

• Olympiacos qualified thanks to a 3-0 aggregate victory against Sheriff FC in the play-offs, winning 2-0 in Moldova thanks to second-half goals from Dudu and substitute Kostas Mitroglou before a 1-0 home victory with another late goal from Mitroglou.

• Two seasons ago Olympiacos won through to the first knockout round, progressing beyond the opening stage of group matches for the first time since 1998/99. In 2007/08 they remained unbeaten in four home games, picking up draws against Lazio and Real Madrid CF before beating Werder Bremen 3-0 to finish second in the pool behind Madrid. In the last 16 they drew 0-0 at home to Chelsea FC before losing 3-0 away.

• Those results contrasted with their previous two campaigns in which Olympiacos lost two of their three home games each time. It means that in their last ten home games in the competition they have managed just two wins with four defeats and four draws.

• AZ are one of eight sides appearing in the group stage for the first time. The Eredivisie champions have lost just once in 33 European home games and have also impressed away, winning four and losing only two in the UEFA Cup in 2006/07 and 2007/08.

Team ties
• Olympiacos defender Olof Mellberg and AZ pair Rasmus Elm and Pontus Wernbloom are team-mates in the Swedish national side.

• Mounir El Hamdaoui of AZ and Olympiacos' Jaouad Zairi are international team-mates with Morocco.

• Dismissed Olympiacos coach Temuri Ketsbaia and AZ assistant coach Shota Arveladze were international team-mates and their country's top two leading all-time goalscorers, Arveladze managing 26 goals and Ketsbaia 15.

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