Olympiakos are the current Greek champions, as it happens almost every year
On a national level, they have complete dominance over Greek football and even Panathinaikos and AEK Athens have struggled to compete with them.
Last year they fell on this play-off by losing to the Israeli champions, and that sent them to the Europa League. This season, they are aiming at the Champions League’s group stage, and they are the favourites in this tie.
They already got through the last qualifying round, beating Partizan 3-1 away and drawing 2-2 at home, where they only had to manage the lead obtained in the 1st leg.
Many of the players on this team have already played in Portuguese football, such as Diogo Figueiras, Carcela, Pardo and Sebá. They haven’t played any league match, since the Greek Super League hasn’t started yet.
Rijeka: They are the current Croatian champions, since they were able to oppose fierce rivals Dinamo Zagreb, despite not being title contenders.
This season they have already played 5 league matches, but they are already falling behind due to some negative results, and are sitting 4 points behind Dinamo, who is leading the Croatian championship.
Their squad has no International experience at this level, although they do have one or two interesting players.
Rijeka has already played two qualifying rounds so far.
First they eliminated New Saints, with 2 wins, both away and at home, and then they eliminated Salzburg, drawing 1-1 away and 0-0 at home, going through because of their goal scored in Austria.
Going into this play-off, they are the underdogs.
Olympiakos vs Rijeka Pick:
Although Rijeka has more competitive rhythm at this stage of the season, I see Olympiakos coming out on top and winning this match
On their tie against Partizan they played well, winning both away and at home, and dominating both matches.
They have a good attack, great fierce fans and they are facing a Rijeka side who tends to be vulnerable away from home, so I think Olympiakos, who is more experienced, will take over this match and get the win.
Last season they failed on this play-off and I don’t believe it will happen again, especially on this 1st leg at home, where they have the responsibility to triumph, and they will.