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UEFA Conference League

Olympiacos' route to UEFA Europa Conference League final 2023-24

Published at :May 28, 2024 at 1:42 PM
Modified at :May 28, 2024 at 1:42 PM
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Only Fiorentina stand in the way of the 2023-24 UECL title for the Thrylos

Olympiacos are just one win away from lifting the 2023-24 UEFA Europa Conference League title. They will face Italian side ACF Fiorentina in the final on 29 May.

The Greek club however are likely to feel at home as the match will take place in Greece only. AEK Arena will be the stadium that will host the final event. AEK Arena is the stadium of Olympiacos’s domestic league rivals AEK Athens.

The 2023-24 Super League Greece saw Thrylos finish in the third spot in the regular season. They even ended up in the same position finally after the Championship playoffs. PAOK FC lifted the league title by a points advantage over Olympiacos.

The Greek side led by José Luis Mendilibar will now be gearing up for the European final. They last played a competitive game back on 19 May. It was against Panathinaikos in the Championship playoffs with the final scoreline being 2-2. With the UECL final almost upon us, let’s dive into the journey of Olympiacos so far:

Europa League exit and drop to UECL

The 2023-24 European run for Olympiacos actually started off in the UEFA Europa League, not the Conference League. The club was drawn in UEL Group A with West Ham United, SC Freiburg and FK TSC Bačka Topola.

On Matchday 1, it was the German side Freiburg who visited Karaiskakis Stadium. The night saw five goals with success coming for the visitors with a 3-2 scoreline. The matchday 2 also wasn’t of any success for Thrylos. They ended up with just a point on the table after a 2-2 draw with Bačka Topola and a red card to defender Andreas Ndoj.

Matchdays 3 and 4 saw them cover both parts of fixtures against West Ham United. Firstly, they played as the hosts to the Premier League side. It was a fruitful night with all three points after a narrow margin 2-1 win. The reverse fixture ended in favour of the Hammers.

Matchday 5 was a horror show. A trip to Germany ended up in a humiliation. Freiburg thrashed Olympiacos with five goals without even conceding one. The final Matchday 6, however, was a turnaround in results. The Greek outfit won 5-2 against Serbian side Bačka Topola.

Playoff fight to enter UECL

As the group stage of UEL was completed, Olympiacos finished third in Group A. They now had to fight for a place in UECL in the playoffs against Hungarian outfit Ferencvárosi.

The first leg was at home. A narrow 1-0 score was the final result in favour of the Greek club. With a one-goal advantage, the side then played the away fixture. That also ended 1-0 to give them an aggregate win of 2-0. This meant entry to the Round of 16 of the UEFA Europa Conference League finally.

UECL Round of 16 saw a massive comeback on the road

In the Round of 16, Maccabi Tel Aviv was waiting for them. The Israeli side had finished the competition’s Group B as table toppers with 15 points after six group games.

Even though Olympiacos were the hosts for the first leg and had the home crowd on their side, Maccabi Tel Aviv thrashed them badly. The away team ended the game with a 4-1 win.

The second leg was away from home and obviously, the chips were down after that 4-1 defeat. Nevertheless, Mendilibar’s team was playing on another level. They turned around the tie completely with a comprehensive 6-1 win in the second leg. Olympiacos who seemed destined to exit were now through to the Quarterfinals with an aggregate win of 7-5.

Also Read: Olympiacos vs Fiorentina Predicted lineup, betting tips, odds, injury news, H2H, telecast

The clash with Fenerbahçe in the quarter-finals

Just like the Round of 16, the quarter-finals were also a very stressful affair for Mendilibar and Co.

The Süper Lig side Fenerbahçe did lost the first leg 3-2 on the road but managed to pull things back in the second leg. A 1-0 score in the second leg meant an aggregate of 3-3. After extra time the game went to the penalty shootout. By the end, a 3-2 win on penalties allowed another scare to end in favour of Olympiacos.

Cruising past a Premier League side in the semi-finals

Aston Villa were the semi-final opponents. On paper, they were the favourites.

The Villans failed to roar at their home, Villa Park, as Unai Emery’s men lost the first leg with a 4-2 defeat. In the second leg, Olympiacos further sweetened the deal with a brace of goals by Ayoub El Kaabi without a response. A strong 6-2 aggregate result allowed them to book a place in the UECL finals as they are not set to clash with Fiorentina on 29 May.

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