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Olympiacos need a Levante landslide

Olympiacos FC need to pile on the goals in Piraeus if they are to rescue an impossible-looking situation in their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie against Levante UD.

Levante's Pedro Ríos takes on Olympiacos's José Holebas
Levante's Pedro Ríos takes on Olympiacos's José Holebas ©AFP/Getty Images

Olympiacos FC have it all to do if they are to make it to the UEFA Europa League round of 32, trailing 3-0 from the first leg of their tie against Levante UD.

• Pedro Ríos gave Levante an early lead before Olympiacos's Djamel Abdoun was dismissed for a foul in the penalty area. Obafemi Martins missed the resulting penalty, but José Barkero converted another before the break, and Martins' lob made it 3-0 on 56 minutes.

Previous meetings
• The first leg was the sides's first competitive meeting and Levante's first tie against Greek opponents. They had met in two previous friendly games: a 4-0 win for Olympiacos in August 2007 and a 1-1 draw in August 2004.

• Olympiacos's 25 games against Spanish sides have ended W5 D8 L12 (W5 D6 L1 at home – W0 D2 L11 in Spain). The only Spanish side to have beaten Olympiacos at home were Levante's neighbours Valencia CF, who won 4-2 in Greece in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Olympiacos and Valencia met four times, with Valencia winning three of those games and Olympiacos one – a 1-0 home win in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League first group stage.

Match background
• Olympiacos have won their last two European home games, but have kept a clean sheet just once in their last 11 continental fixtures at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

• A 2-1 defeat at Hannover 96 remains Levante's only away defeat in four foreign trips in UEFA competition.

• This is Levante's first season in UEFA competition. The debutants and European champions Chelsea FC have played the fewest games in the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League of any of the sides in the round of 32 – nine each. Levante's European record so far reads W6 D2 L1.

• Olympiacos have reached the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup (1992/93) and UEFA Champions League (1998/99), but have never got beyond the last 16 in this competition (2004/05 and 2011/12).

Team facts 
• Levante's José Barkero tops the UEFA Europa League assists rankings with five since the start of the group stage.

• Levante defender Sergio Ballesteros and Olympiacos midfielder Ariel Ibagaza were team-mates at RCD Mallorca (2006–08), with another Levante centre-half – David Navarro – playing with them (2007–08) while on loan at the island club.

• Levante left-back Juanfran and Olympiacos centre-back Pablo Contreras played together at RC Celta de Vigo (2001–04).

• Levante boast Greek talent in the form of defender Nikos Karabelas: he played alongside Olympiacos's Avraam Papadopoulos at Aris Thessaloniki FC (2006–08).

• Levante midfielder Nabil El Zhar also spent a season in Greece on loan at PAOK FC (2010–11), during which he also played alongside Contreras.

• During a spell at AEK Athens FC (2008–09), Juanfran played alongside Olympiacos defender Kostas Manolas and forward Rafik Djebbour.

• Olympiacos's Spanish midfielder David Fuster knows the Valencia region well: the former Villarreal CF player was born 65km from Valencia in Oliva.

• Former Real Madrid CF midfielder Míchel replaced Portuguese coach Leonardo Jardim as Olympiacos boss in early February. The new coach won six league titles with Madrid and was a member of the side that won back-to-back UEFA Cups in 1984/85 and 1985/86. He has since coached Rayo Vallecano de Madrid, Getafe CF and Sevilla FC.

• This is Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martínez's first campaign in UEFA club competition. As a midfielder, he never rose higher than the third tier in Spanish football and coached in youth and women's football, working his way up the senior men's leagues to take charge of Levante in June 2011. He is often known by his initials, JIM, in Spain.

Round of 16: Levante/Olympiacos v Club Atlético de Madrid/FC Rubin Kazan
• The first legs will be played on 7 March, with the returns the following Thursday.

• Olympiacos have met both of their potential opponents before, and Levante know Atlético well from their domestic league.

• Olympiacos and Rubin met in last season's round of 32, with the Piraeus side progressing to the round of 16 with 1-0 wins in both legs.

• Ibagaza could also meet his old club, Atlético – whom he represented from 2003 to 2006. The teams have met before in the 1992/93 Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals, with the Spanish side prevailing 3-1 at home after a 1-1 draw in Greece.

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