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Olympiacos vs Wolves Europa League preview: where to watch, team news

Olympiacos host Wolves in their UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg – all you need to know.

Mohamed Camara celebrates Olympiacos's shock victory over Arsenal in the last 32
Mohamed Camara celebrates Olympiacos's shock victory over Arsenal in the last 32 Getty Images

Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Greece in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 on 12 March at 21:00 CET. This page will update with team news, quotes and expert analysis as kick-off approaches.


Where to watch the game on TV

Fans can find their local UEFA Europa League broadcast partner(s) here.

The teams

UEFA ranking: 33
Domestic position: 1
How they got there: UEFA Champions League group stage, 2-2aet Arsenal (away goals)
Last season: round of 32 (lost 3-2 v Dynamo Kyiv)
Previous UEFA Cup/Europa League best: round of 16 (1989/90, 2004/05, 2011/12, 2016/17)

Highlights: Arsenal 1-2 Olympiacos
Highlights: Arsenal 1-2 Olympiacos

UEFA ranking: 85
Domestic position: 6
How they got there: Group K runners-up, 6-3 Espanyol
Last season: N/A (previous campaign: 1980/81)
Previous UEFA Cup/Europa League best: runners-up (1971/72)

Possible line-ups

Olympiacos: José Sá; Elabdellaoui, Semedo, Cissé, Tsimikas; Guilherme, Bouchalakis, Camara, Valbuena, Masouras; El Arabi
Out: Soudani (cruciate)
Doubtful: Gaspar (hamstring), Allain (calf)
Misses next game if booked: Ba, Bouchalakis, Camara, Guilherme, El Arabi

Wolves: Rui Patrício; Boly, Coady, Saïss; Doherty, Moutinho, Rúben Neves, Vinagre; Traoré, Jiménez, Jota
Doubtful: Jonny Otto (foot), Traoré (shoulder)
Misses next game if booked: Podence, Kilman

Highlights: Wolves 4-0 Espanyol
Highlights: Wolves 4-0 Espanyol

Expert prediction

Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, Olympiacos reporter: Team-mates during their playing careers, Olympiacos coach Pedro Martins and Wolves boss Nuno Espírito Santo are in charge of sides featuring plenty of Portuguese players. They will look to out-think each other and channel the huge excitement in both camps; Olympiacos are buzzing after eliminating Arsenal, while Wolves are enjoying their biggest European adventure since reaching the 1972 UEFA Cup final. Neither side have anything to lose. This could be quite a tie.

What the coaches say

Pedro Martins, Olympiacos coach: "We are eager to win and we will display our usual passion and focus. It's a very important game for us, against a very well-organised side. Wolves are very spirited, very compact and have exceptional teamwork; they have high-quality players and perform well in England and in Europe. We are totally prepared for this match, because ultimately it's the players who make things happen."

Nuno Espírito Santo, Wolves coach: "Olympiacos is a very good team. The proof is the previous tie they had [against Arsenal in the round of 32]. We've been analysing and it’s a very good team; quality players, a good manager that I know, and it’s going to be very tough. Going to Greece to play the last 16 of the Europa League is the best motivation that we have, so we’re going to go there and compete well.”

Previous meetings

• This is Wolves' first UEFA encounter with opponents from Greece.

• Olympiacos's record at home to English visitors is W7 D4 L5, one of the drawn matches having taken place earlier this season when they came from behind to hold Tottenham 2-2 on Matchday 1 of the UEFA Champions League.

• The round of 32 success against Arsenal made it two consecutive victories in two-legged ties against English sides for Olympiacos following last season's UEFA Europa League play-off win against Burnley (3-1 h, 1-1 a). The Piraeus club had lost all of their six previous such ties.

Highlights: Olympiacos 0-1 Arsenal
Highlights: Olympiacos 0-1 Arsenal

Form guide

• Second in the 2018/19 Greek Super League behind PAOK, Olympiacos went from the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round to the round of 32, where, having memorably eliminated AC Milan in the group stage, they were knocked out by Dynamo Kyiv (2-2 h, 0-1 a).

• This season Olympiacos returned to the UEFA Champions League group stage, earning their 19th participation with convincing qualifying victories over Viktoria Plzeň, İstanbul Başakşehir and Krasnodar. However, after drawing their opening group game against Tottenham, they lost the next four and were indebted to El Arabi's 87th-minute penalty in their final fixture at home to Crvena zvezda for the win they needed to leapfrog the Serbian champions into third place.

• This is Olympiacos's third appearance in the UEFA Europa League round of 16, the previous two having both ended in defeat – against Metalist Kharkiv, on away goals, in 2011/12 (1-0 a, 2-1 h) and Beşiktaş in 2016/17 (1-1 h, 1-4 a). The club have only ever reached two European quarter-finals – in the 1992/93 European Cup Winners' Cup and the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League.

• A 2-3 defeat by Bayern in this season's UEFA Champions League ended Olympiacos's ten-game unbeaten European run in Piraeus, which included six UEFA Europa League fixtures last term (W4 D2). However, they have won only one of their nine home fixtures in the knockout phase of this competition – the first of them, 1-0 against Rubin Kazan in the 2011/12 round of 32. Their record since then is D4 L4.

Five stunning round of 16 goals
Five stunning round of 16 goals

• In their first season after promotion to the Premier League, Wolves finished seventh in 2018/19 to return to European competition for the first time since they lost in the first round of the 1980/81 UEFA Cup to PSV Eindhoven.

• Wolves began this UEFA Europa League campaign in late July and went on to win all six qualifying matches, knocking out Crusaders, Pyunik and, in the play-offs, Torino. They lost their opening group game, 0-1 at home to Braga, but took maximum points off Beşiktaş (1-0 a, 4-0 h) and Slovan Bratislava (2-1 a, 1-0 h) as well as drawing 3-3 in northern Portugal.

• The West Midlanders' best European experience by some distance – and their only other springtime participation in UEFA competition – came in the inaugural UEFA Cup of 1971/72, when they went all the way to the final before losing 3-2 on aggregate to English rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

• Wolves won their first five European away fixtures this season – against Crusaders (4-1), Pyunik (4-0) and Torino (3-2) in qualifying and at Beşiktaş and Slovan in the group stage – before drawing at Braga on Matchday 5 and then losing last time out at Espanyol.

Highlights: Wolves 4-0 Beşiktaş
Highlights: Wolves 4-0 Beşiktaş

Links and trivia 

• Three Olympiacos players have had brief spells in England – Omar Elabdellaoui (who started his career in Manchester City's youth team) at Hull City in 2016/17, Andreas Bouchalakis at Nottingham Forest in 2017/18 and Hilal Soudani, also at Forest, in 2018/19.

• The clubs are both led by Portuguese coaches. Pedro Martins (Olympiacos) and Nuno Espírito Santo (Wolves) have met six times as head coaches in the Portuguese Liga. Martins' Marítimo won two and drew two against the latter's Rio Ave in 2012/13 and 2013/14 but Nuno's Porto won home and away against Martins' Vitória SC in 2016/17.

• Nuno succeeded Martins as Rio Ave head coach in 2014.

• Wolves signed Daniel Podence from Olympiacos in January. The Portuguese winger scored for the Piraeus club at home to Tottenham in this season's UEFA Champions League.

Daniel Podence in action for Olympiacos in November
Daniel Podence in action for Olympiacos in NovemberGetty Images

• Olympiacos defender Rúben Semedo played with Podence and Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patrício for Sporting CP in 2016/17, while the Greek side's Portuguese 'keeper José Sá was a team-mate of Willy Boly, Diogo Jota and Rúben Neves in Nuno's Porto side that same season.

• El Arabi and Wolves defender Romain Saïss have been international team-mates for Morocco since 2012.

• Diogo Jota's hat-trick for Wolves against Beşiktaş on Matchday 6, with goals in the 58th, 63rd and 69th minutes, was the third fastest in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. Having replicated that feat against Espanyol in the round of 32 first leg, he became the first player to score a hat-trick on consecutive UEFA Europa League Matchdays, although Klaas-Jan Huntelaar managed trebles on successive appearances for Schalke in 2011/12, on Matchdays 8 and 10, missing the game in between.

• Wolves were among six UEFA Europa League group stage debutants this season; only one of the others, LASK, are still involved. Ferencváros, Olexandriya and Wolfsberg were all eliminated in the group stage and Espanyol, by Wolves, in the round of 32.

• Olympiacos are one of four UEFA Champions League group stage participants to have reached the UEFA Europa League round of 16, along with Bayer Leverkusen, Internazionale and Shakhtar Donetsk.

• Olympiacos and Wolves are each playing their 15th European fixture of the season, making it both clubs' longest ever continental campaign.

The coaches

• Pedro Martins was named Olympiacos coach in April 2018, becoming the club's fifth Portuguese boss in six years after Leonardo Jardim, Vítor Pereira, Marco Silva and Paulo Bento. Martins had not previously worked outside his homeland, his last three spells in the dugout before the move to Greece having brought UEFA Europa League qualification for Marítimo, Rio Ave and Vitória SC. A holding midfielder, he was capped once by Portugal during a three-year spell with Sporting CP from 1995–98.

• A former goalkeeper who was in Portugal's UEFA EURO 2008 squad but never won a senior cap, Nuno Espírito Santo was mostly a back-up during his playing career but as a manager he is very much at the forefront, having emerged as a studious, progressive coach during spells at Valencia, Porto and, since May 2017, Wolves. He first made his mark by taking Portuguese provincial club Rio Ave to two cup finals and into Europe before shining in Spain during an 18-month stint at Mestalla. He led Wolves into the Premier League in his first season and into the UEFA Europa League in his second.