Prolific Metalist await Olympiacos
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Ukrainian challengers FC Metalist Kharkiv will look to break more new ground in the round of 16 against an Olympiacos FC side on a five-game European winning streak.
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The UEFA Europa League's arch entertainers, FC Metalist Kharkiv will look to break more new ground in the round of 16 against an Olympiacos FC side on a five-game European winning streak.
• The sides' only previous meeting came in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, with Edmar scoring the only goal (88) in a 1-0 home win for Metalist. Myron Markevich was in charge of Metalist while Ernesto Valverde was in the first of his two spells as Olympiacos coach.
• The teams for that game on 3 December 2008 were:
Metalist: Goryainov*, Gancarczyk (Babych 90+4), Valyayev*, Edmar*, Sliusar, Obradović*, Maidana, Gueye*, Fomin (Trišović 82), Bordian, Jajá (Konyushenko 90+1).
Olympiacos: Nikopolidis, Patsatzoglou, Domi, Galletti (Mitroglou 72), Diogo*, Djordjević, Antzas, Dudu, A Papadopoulos*, Belluschi, Torossidis* (Pantos 80).
*registered to play in this season's UEFA Europa League.
• That victory against Olympiacos was Metalist's only previous meeting with a Greek side.
• Olympiacos's seven previous encounters with Ukrainian opponents have ended W1 D3 L3 (W1 D1 L2 in Ukraine). That sole victory was a 3-0 win at FC Chornomorets Odesa in the first round of the 1992/93 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.
• Metalist are unbeaten in ten UEFA Europa League games this season, recording seven wins and three draws. They drew their first two European home matches of 2011/12, but won the next three convincingly, scoring 11 goals.
• Markevich's Metalist broke new ground by reaching the round of 16 in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup, losing out on away goals to domestic rivals FC Dynamo Kyiv, winning 3-2 at home after a 1-0 away defeat. They have not progressed beyond this stage in a UEFA club competition.
• Olympiacos are on a four-game winning streak in Europe, during which they have won three games 1-0 and conceded just once, in a 3-1 UEFA Champions League triumph over Arsenal FC. They have won two of their four European away games this season.
• The Greek champions last reached the round of 16 in 2004/05 − the first season since the advent of the UEFA Cup group stage − losing out to Newcastle United FC.
• Olympiacos last reached a major quarter-final in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League, when they were beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Juventus.
• Metalist are the most prolific scorers in the UEFA Europa League with 23 goals in eight games since the start of the group stage – four more than their nearest rivals PSV Eindhoven.
• Metalist's 4-1 win at home against FC Salzburg in the round of 32 matched their best results at home in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League – it was their third 4-1 home win in the competitions.
• Olympiacos's Algerian international forward Rafik Djebbour turns 28 on the day of the game; he has never played a UEFA game on his birthday.
• Metalist's Serbian defender Milan Obradović spent a season in Greece with Akratitos FC in 2005/06 prior to joining his current side.
• Metalist coach Markevich is a keen student of the game − he has made trips to study Fabio Capello, Christoph Daum and Carlo Ancelotti − and is also an able pianist. Having been in charge of Metalist since 2005, he was named Ukraine coach on his 59th birthday in February 2010 but stepped down that August to focus solely on his club duties.
• Olympiacos's Spanish boss Valverde was a forward and later coach with Athletic. He twice lost UEFA Cup finals on penalties with RSC Espanyol, as a player in 1988 and as a coach in 2007, but won the 1989 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup at FC Barcelona. He is in his second spell with the Piraeus club having won the Greek title in his first season, in 2008/09, and again on returning in 2010/11.
• An updated version of the UEFA Europa League Statistics Handbook is available here: