Group H – Kick-off 19:45 (BST)
Ronald Koeman knows AZ Alkmaar will “have to take risks” as they pursue the home victory against Olympiakos he believes they need to retain any hope of reaching the last 16.
The Dutch champions took just a point from their double-header against Arsenal and lie bottom of the section, while Zico’s Greek outfit remain second and well-poised to qualify, despite losing 2-0 at Standard Liege last time out.
“The task for us is easy – there is no other option than victory,” said Koeman. “We know what we have to do: we have to win to continue in the Champions League and maybe even in Europe. However, it will not be easy to achieve that.
“I don’t think Olympiacos will come here to take the initiative. They will wait and look for whatever opportunities arise. That makes it extra hard for us as we will not get much space. At certain moments, we will have to take risks to go for victory.
“In the home game they played 4-3-3 against us, but away to Standard they played with five defenders. So we are prepared for a tough match. We realise that looking at the current standings we need a win, while they can play with patience and from defence. At this moment, third place is the most realistic option for us.”
Zico, meanwhile, believes tonight’s game represents the perfect opportunity for his players to get their campaign back on track after drawing their previous two matches.
“This is a good opportunity for us to get a win after drawing our last two games, but this is a tough group in which every team wants to win, so we’ll have to do our best to deliver a good performance,” said the Brazilian.
“We started well against Standard but didn’t take our chances and after that we made mistakes; mistakes we are going to try to avoid here. We also have an important match [against Panathinaikos FC] at the weekend, so a draw here and a win there wouldn’t be so bad, but obviously we’d prefer to win both matches.
“Koeman was a good player but unfortunately we didn’t play against each other. I watched him a lot and met him when we were assistant coaches with Brazil and the Netherlands [in a 1998 FIFA World Cup semi-final] which was a very important grounding for us on the path to becoming coaches. I think our ideas about how football should be played aren’t so different.”