Group H – Kick-off 19:45 (BST)
Zico is hoping Olympiakos’ impressive home record will hold them in good stead against an under-strength Arsenal as they look for the point that will take them through to the Champions League first knockout round.
Zico knows qualification is far from assured, though the Greek titleholders will advance regardless should Standard Liege fail to beat AZ Alkmaar.
“The time has come for us to record our third win at home and progress to the next round,” said the Brazilian. “We obviously know a draw will suffice, but we should beware because in the past many sides going for two results ended up losing and getting eliminated.
“Arsenal may be fielding an under-strength side, but we shouldn’t let that upset our focus. I would have preferred to have a full-strength opponent as an eventual win would be more prestigious. Furthermore, the younger players of Arsenal will be keen to prove their worth and that could prove tricky. Anyway, we have our fate in our hands.”
Having already secured top spot in Group H and with his squad undermined by injuries, Arsene Wenger will field a youthful team, but he emphasised that he considers his young charges good enough to win tonight.
“We have a young squad here in Athens and for them it’s a good opportunity to show that they have the quality to sustain the pressure in such an intense environment as the Karaiskaki Stadium,” said Wenger.
“I don’t know if they will be affected by the atmosphere created by Olympiakos’s fans, but in England we are used to playing in intense situations at away games. The best way to cool a hot atmosphere is to play very good football – and we will try to do just that.
“In the [first] match, Olympiakos had one or two good counterattacks but for the most part Nikopolidis kept them in the match. I would be happy if we managed to test Nikopolidis the way we did in London.”