- Group B’s underdogs meet in Belgrade
- Both teams need a win to kickstart their campaigns
- Defeat for either could signal the end of the chances of making the knockout phase
Group B’s two lesser lights meet in Belgrade next week – Tuesday, October 1 – with both hoping to get points on the board and their first Champions League win of the campaign.
For Red Star, a 3-0 defeat away to Bayern Munich was not the ideal start, but neither was it unexpected. For Olympiakos, a 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham in a game they were losing 2-0 felt very much like a win.
Neither are expected to reach the knockout stages, but will be keen to use this game as a chance to challenge Bayern and Spurs. We’ll take a look and see if there’s any value.
Red Star Belgrade vs Olympiakos Odds
|Red Star Belgrade||pk (+118)||+195||O 2.5 (+110)||+75000|
|pk (-134)||+135||U 2.5 (-126)||+25000|
*Odds taken on September 27, 2019
In fairness, Red Star’s defeat at the Allianz Arena was not as comfortable as the scoreline suggests, as it took the German champions until the 80th minute to get the all-important second goal. Until then Kingsley Coman’s 34th-minute header was all that separated the teams.
Despite Bayern enjoying the majority of possession, it was a resolute Red Star defense that held firm until the Bundesliga’s leading scorer Robert Lewandowski slid in for the second with just ten minutes remaining. The third goal arrived in stoppage time when veteran Thomas Mueller came off the bench to finish things off in stoppage time.
The problem for Red Star was their lack of threat in the final third, something they will need to rectify against Olympiakos, but worth noting too is that they have won seven of their first eight games in the new Serbian Premier League.
Those looking to have a bet need to note they are not huge scorers – 16 goals in 8 games – but have a great defensive record having only conceded seven goals.
Also worth noting is the last time Red Star lost a home cup game was back in December – against PSG in last season’s Champions League – and so have a proud record of not losing a home cup game in this calendar year to defend.
Red Star Belgrade vs Olympiakos Match-Ups
|143/330||Number of European wins / Number of games||116/290|
|562/1.70||Number European goals scored / Per game||385/1.33|
|427/1.29||Number of European goals conceded / Per game||415/1.43|
|1||Number of European trophies won||0|
|30||Number of domestic league titles won||44|
|3||Number of European finals||0|
The Greek champions will head to Belgrade with great confidence after upsetting the form book to grab that vital draw with Tottenham on Matchday 1.
Two goals in four first-half minutes had put Spurs in control of the tie – Harry Kane opening the scoring from the penalty spot and then Lucas Moura scorching from 20-yards – but a goal on the stroke of half-time from Portuguese winger Daniel Podence turned the game on its head.
The goal brought a passionate home crowd to life and Olympiakos equalized from a penalty after Valbuena had been fouled by Jan Vertonghen. It was French striker Mathieu Valbuena who stepped up and beat Hugo Lloris from the spot.
Unfortunately for the Greek champions, they are not good travellers, especially in Europe, without their noisy and boisterous crowd behind them, although they did win away against FC Krasnodar in their recent UCL qualifier. This game in Belgrade will, however, be a much sterner test.
One interesting stat is that of the last ten away games they have lost, they conceded first nine times, so if they are to get anything here it is absolutely vital they get themselves a lead.
So, a tough one to call but Belgrade’s Rajko Mitić Stadium is an intimidating arena and if Red Star get their noses in front we can see the Serbs upsetting the form book and getting a narrow win.
My pick: Red Star to win (+195)