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UEFA Youth League final preview: Olympiacos vs AC Milan

When is it? How can you watch it? What are the line-ups? All you need to know about the UEFA Youth League final between Olympiacos and AC Milan.

The Lennart Johansson trophy is up for grabs on Monday in Nyon and will have a new name etched on it
The Lennart Johansson trophy is up for grabs on Monday in Nyon and will have a new name etched on it UEFA via Sportsfile

Olympiacos play AC Milan in the 2024 UEFA Youth League final at Colovray Sports Centre, Nyon on Monday 22 April.

Youth League final at a glance

When: Monday 22 April, 18:00 CET
: Colovray Sports Centre, Nyon
What: UEFA Youth League final
How to follow: Build-up and live coverage can be found here
Where to watch: See the list of broadcasters, or watch live on UEFA.tv.

The lowdown

Neither Greece not Italy had previously had a team in the final of this competition but the trophy will now be heading to one of those nations, having previously been won by clubs from Spain (Barcelona and Real Madrid), England (Chelsea), Austria (Salzburg), Portugal (Porto and Benfica) and the Netherlands (AZ Alkmaar). In fact, Greece had never even had a side in the last eight before this season and Olympiacos are only the second club from their nation to even reach a UEFA final after Panathinaikos in the 1970/71 European Cup, which they lost to Ajax.

Olympiacos, of course, are also still in the hunt for silverware in the UEFA Europa Conference League, and defender Isidoros Koutsidis was an unused substitute for the seniors on Thursday as Olympiacos beat Fenerbahçe on penalties before flying in from Istanbul to start Friday's semi-final against Nantes. That also went to a shoot-out, Olympiacos outdoing a side that had previously come through on penalties four times in this season's competition, with goalkeeper Antzelo Sina the hero as he had been in the goalless 90 minutes too.

Semi-final highlights: Olympiacos 0-0 Nantes (3-1 pens)

It was also a third penalty shoot-out victory of the campaign for Olympiacos, including an epic 6-5 defeat of Inter in the play-offs; they also beat Lecce 6-2 on aggregate in the first round of the domestic champions path, from which they hope to be only the first winners after Salzburg (2016/17) and AZ Alkmaar (2022/23). Coach Sotiris Sylaidopoulos returns to the bench, after serving out a suspension in the semi-final.

Milan, who fell in the semi-finals to Hajduk Split last season, have now gone one better, following up topping a group with Borussia Dortmund, Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain before showing their own shoot-out prowess in the knockout phase against Braga, Madrid and, on Friday, Porto. Milan had needed a last-gasp equaliser to force penalties and once there captain Kevin Zeroli converted the winning kick, just as in the previous two rounds.

Meet Olympiacos and Milan

Expert predictions from Nyon

Vassiliki Papantonopoulou, Olympiacos reporter
The Olympiacos youngsters have the opportunity to make history on Monday, as they compete against Milan for Greece's first ever European trophy at club level. Their run has been flawless, they have been tested – three penalty shoot-outs included – and came out with flying colours.

Credit goes to the impressive work of the Olympiacos academy in recent years, reflected not only in the presence of their Under-19 team in the Youth League final, but also on the (first-ever) qualification of the senior team for the Europa Conference League semi-finals on Thursday, thanks to the heroics of recent graduate of the academy, 21-year old goalkeeper Kostas Tzolakis – a feat emulated by Sina the following day in Nyon.

Alessandro Massimo, Milan reporter
Milan's adventure in the Youth League is a tale of resilience, determination and courage. When all seems lost, Ignazio Abate's team rise again. Olympiacos have already knocked out two Italian sides, Lecce and Inter, but this Milan squad have all the qualities to make history.

Players like Zeroli, Jan-Carlo Simić and Noah Raveyre are making the difference, but the real strength of this group is unity. Now we shall see if the planets are aligned for the biggest challenge.

Semi-final highlights: FC Porto 2-2 AC Milan (3-4 pens)

Views from the camps

Sotiris Sylaidopoulos, Olympiacos coach: "I told my players before the Nantes game that they are rock-solid, they have strong character and these traits make them special as a team. They know how to handle their emotions in the toughest of situations and I am proud of them, as most Greeks are."

Ignazio Abate, Milan coach: "It will be a difficult final for us, but also for Olympiacos. We have achieved a historic goal and in a few years people will remember this group. I am proud of all my boys."

Olympiacos hero Sina: 'We've achieved something really great'

Christos Mouzakitis, Olympiacos forward: "We have faced Italian teams before, with Lecce and Inter. [Milan] are also a special team, they are different, it's the final, but we have an idea of what Italian teams are like.

"It would be the first European title for [Greek] football since EURO 2004, but from a club point of view, it would be the first. It would be unprecedented for us to do it. It would be very important for our country."

Theofanis Bakoulas, Olympiacos midfielder: "We've had a group set-up since last year, that is to say that many of us have been together since last year. We've been through a lot together in the last year because we weren't always at the top of the championship, and so we had to struggle a lot. This year started off very well for us in the Youth League. Our coach told us after the second game that if we won in Lecce, we would go far. And as the games kept happening, we started to believe it more.

"We are confident after defeating last year's [Italian] champions Lecce and this season's leaders, Inter. Therefore, we have nothing more to fear regarding Milan than we did against the other two [Italian] sides."

Scotti: 'Milan's fighting spirit got us through'

Kevin Zeroli, Milan midfielder: "[Olympiacos] are an amazing team but we'll face them calmly as well as with determination. I'm sure we'll get there and we'll play an incredible game. And we'll do our best to win.

"I think it would be another great little dream come true. I was born and grew up with these colours. AC Milan are used to winning in Europe against European teams."

Noah Raveyre, Milan goalkeeper: "It will be a very hard 90-minute match against a strong team who won after a penalty shoot-out against Nantes, so it will be a very tough match and we'll have to be present, together and united like we were against Porto.

"To put it simply, we'll give it everything we've got, we'll fight as hard as we can to beat them and win the trophy."

Previous finals

2023: AZ Alkmaar 5-0 Hajduk Split
2022: Benfica 6-0 Salzburg
2021: No competition
2020: Real Madrid 3-2 Benfica
2019: Porto 3-1 Chelsea
2018: Barcelona 3-0 Chelsea
2017: Salzburg 2-1 Benfica
2016: Chelsea 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain
2015: Chelsea 3-2 Shakhtar Donetsk
2014: Barcelona 3-0 Benfica

All played in Nyon except 2023 in Geneva