Olympiakos vs Deportiva
A win for Olmpiakos tonight will virtually guarantee them a place in the knockout stage of the Champions League for only the second time in their history.
Deportivo know that only a victory will keep their hopes of qualification alive though.
Olmpiakos coach Bajevic admits the game with Deportivo represents yet another step up in pressure.
“This is the most important match for us,” he said. “Like the previous game, this is the match of the season. We have a chance to wrap up qualification if we win tomorrow, but may have to wait until our last fixture.”
For Olympiakos to secure progress, they must win and Liverpool must avoid defeat at third-placed Monaco, who lie a point behind the front two. Irrespective of results on the final match day, Olympiakos would then progress courtesy of their superior record over Monaco.
Bajevic guided Olympiakos to the quarterfinals in 1998/99 in his previous spell in charge and believes they have to put Liverpool’s game out of their minds.
“We should not expect help from anyone,” he declared.
Deportivo are without strikers Diego Tristán, Walter Pandiani and defender Joan Capdevila through injury, as well as the suspended Jorge Andrade, but the Olympiacos coach is wary of the Spanish visitors.
“Deportivo have nothing to lose, it is their last chance,” he said. “They have other players who are equally dangerous.”
Goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis agreed, saying: “Deportivo are still in with a chance. But even if they had nothing to play for, they still have quality and experience.”
Bajevic is expected to make at least one change to the side that defeated OFI Crete three-nil in the league on Saturday. Midfielder Predrag Djordjevic returns but striker Ioannis Okkas – also missing at the weekend – has a leg complaint and is a doubtful starter. In the absence of Okkas, Bajevic may turn to Uruguayan Nery Alberto Castillo, who formed a formidable South American trio with Brazilians Rivaldo and Giovanni against OFI.
Depotivo has never failed to get past the group stage of the Champions League but are goalless after four matches. However, their two-nil win at Villarreal in the Primera on Saturday at least offered hope of a revival.
Coach Javier Irureta said: “I know it sounds strange, but we are probably the favourites to win because we need the points more than they do. A draw will not be enough for us.”