Olympiacos Piraeus hosts Neftci Baku in the first leg of the Champions League qualification quarterfinals. The match will be played on Wednesday, July 21st at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium (Piraeus)
Olympiacos Piraeus will start the European Cup campaign from the second round of the Champions League qualification. The club, which won the Greek championship, will try to make its way to the group stage for the third time in a row. In the offseason, the Red-Whites retained most of their regulars, although they had to part with some of the players. The goalkeeper Jose Sa went to Wolverhampton for eight million euros, and defender Hugo Kuypers moved to Mechelen for 750 thousand euros. The 37-year-old veteran defender Jose Holebas left the team, while winger Bruma returned from loan to Dutch PSV. In the transfer market, Olympiacos has relied on youth and free agents. The Brazilian forward Tiquinho signed a 3-year contract with the Red-Whites, (he is known for his performances at FC Porto). Midfielder Pierre Kunde (he came from Mainz for 1.8 million euros), Adrian Galliani, winger Aguibou Camara, and forward Ousseynou Ba (free agents) also joined the team.
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Neftci Baku, which won the previous championship of Azerbaijan, started its way to the Champions League group stage from the first qualifying round. The Oil Workers crossed paths with Dinamo Tbilisi. Neftci dealt with the Georgians in the two-legged confrontation, beating them away (1-2) and repeating this success at home (2-1). The victories of Neftci could have been more confident if not for the personnel losses before the start of the season. The People's Team has lost several important players, including defenders Anton Krivotsyuk and Tallison. The newcomers who came to the team (defenders Romain Basque and Hugo Basto, winger Harramiz, as well as midfielders Cesar Meza Koli and Khayal Nasafov) have not yet gained their best shape.
Olympiacos Piraeus knows how to confidently deal with teams that are equal in strength or weaker on the home pitch. For example, in the confrontation against Krasnodar in the 2019/20 Champions League qualification, the Red-Whites secured victory in their first match at home, winning 4-0. The Greeks have been renowned for their reliable defensive game at their stadium in recent Champions League draws. In the last ten European Cup matches in Piraeus, Olympiacos Piraeus kept a clean sheet six times. Only famous clubs (Porto, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and Tottenham) were able to breach the defense of Olympiacos in its lair. For this reason, the visitors from Azerbaijan are unlikely to score at least one goal.
Prediction for the match: Olympiacos Piraeus to win and Both teams to score — no