Our prediction for this Europa League match:
Olympiakos play host to Qarabag at their Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in the 3rd round of the Europa League group stages. The Thrylos have been struggling in Group G, with the team losing to both Nantes and Freiburg, meaning that this has to go down as a must-win game for the home side. A man to watch in the home team will be former Villarreal striker Cedric Bakambu, who scored a brace in the triumph over Atromitos.
Qarabag, on the other hand, produced a fine display in a 3-0 home win over Nantes, but seeing that they are not regarded as good travellers, we are tempted to put our money on Jose Miguel Gonzalez’s troops. Olympiakos back-line should have Ghana forward Owusu at bay. It has to be noted that the two teams have never met before in European competitions.
Highlighted Player (James Rodriguez):
James Rodriguez is an attacking midfielder who plays for Spanish giants Real Madrid. The Colombian superstar played for the likes of Envigado and Banfield at the start of his career and he moved to Europe in 2010, joining Portuguese side Porto for a fee of €5.1 million.
James scored 25 goals in 63 league appearances with the Dragons and in 2013 he joined Monaco. His transfer to the Ligue 1 side was the second most expensive in the history of Portuguese Primeira Liga (€45 million) and he signed a five-year contract with les Rouges et Blancs. The Colombian ace impressed at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and, as a result, Real Madrid chiefs signed him on 22 July, 2014 for an undisclosed fee.
However, reports in Spain suggested that the fee was approximately €80 million. Rodriguez scored 13 goals in 29 league appearances for Real Madrid in the 2014/2015 Primera Division campaign and he was in Gareth Bale’s shadow in the 2015/2016 season. James is well known for his technical skills, his vision and the ability to create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates.
Highlighted Team (Qarabag):
Over the years Qarabag have established themselves as one of the best teams in Azerbaijan. The club was founded in 1951 and they were playing under the name of Mehsul back then. Qarabag won their first trophy in the national championship in 1993, beating Khazar Sumgayit in the title game.
In the 2015/2016 season they won their fourth domestic trophy, with the team finishing the season 22 points clear of second-placed Zira. Qarabag participated in the 2016/2017 Champions League qualifiers, but they were more than unfortunate to suffer a loss to Viktoria Plzen in the two-legged tie. The Azerbaijan outfit were beaten by the Czechs on away goal rule and, as a result, they made it to the Europa League playoffs.
Thanks to a win over Goteborg in the double-header Qarabag made it to the knockout stages of the competition. The Horsemen play their home games at Azersun Arena and their home colours are black. Qarabag play their away games in white kits.