Spyin' Kop: Olympiacos, Them and Us.

Posted by Rushian on December 8, 2004, 10:07:42 AM

In the words of the legendary Europe, it's the Final Countdown. Olympiacos and Liverpool meet at Anfield tonight with both clubs looking for a result in the last group game to secure passage to the knock out stages of the Champions League. A draw for the Greek league leaders see them advance; the Reds require a 1-0 win or any other win by two or more goals. Deportivo could help both clubs by beating Monaco but we can't rely on the capricious Galicians for a result.

So, once again we've approached the oppositon fans for their views ahead of the game. They say beware of Greeks bearing gifts; RAWK instead welcomes them when they bring pearls of wisdom like these ....

RAWK: How is the season shaping up for Olympiacos?

Rastafarian7: Well we are in the first place in the Greek league and in the CL group so I would say it is more than OK.
RedWhite: Very well till now, just beaten Panathinaikos 1-0 in Karaiskaki with a beautiful Rivaldo freekick and came top of the league. We probably have the best players and manager we have had for years. And of course no one can beat us in Karaiskaki, we havent lost a single point at home yet and not intend to do so for long.
Rojoblanco: Well, so far is a very successful season for Olympiakos. Olympiakos is first in Greece, has won all the derbies in the Greek League (except the one against AEK Athens away which ended 0-0), is first in Group A (3/3 home, 1 draw and 1 defeat away), has a new magnificent stadium, everything is going perfect.
Hasta7: This is a magnificent season so on for our team.We are first (AGAIN) in the Greek league, won against rivals Panathinaikos, have a brand new stadium and also we are first in our CL group.
PetrosKapa: Pretty good until now. With our new home, Georgios Karaiskakis, full every matchday, we sit atop of the table in our National League and in the Champions League group.

RAWK: What are your expectations for this season, both at home and in Europe? Have they changed from day one?

Rastafarian7: Double in Greece and as for the CL ... well I think a place to the final 8 is a good one for the club.
RedWhite: Great expectations. With 32 Championship titles at home we aim at nothing less than the 33rd plus the 21st Greek Cup. For Europe we always dream for a European final and this year Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) seems really close to us (not only geographically ...)
Rojoblanco: The club is the biggest in Greece with 32 championships and 20 Greek Cups, so the ambition of everyone in Olympiakos is to qualify to the next round of the Champions League and to have a very good season in Europe. With new faces like Rivaldo, Nikopolidis and the return of the coach that managed to get Olympiakos to the quarterfinal of the CL in 1999 (Dusan Bajevic), everybody is expecting a great European season. Of course, the Greek Championship and the Greek Cup are always welcomed...
Hasta7: They haven't changed a bit. We expect our team to do the double in Greece (33rd championship & 21st cup) and to qualify to - at least - the next round in CL.We also expect to win the majority of the derbies (especially with panathinaikos).
PetrosKapa: At home, winning the National League is a must, especially after the last year's second place (which BTW was completely unfair - the referees victimized us - but it's a long story...). In Europe, we expect to qualify to the next round. To be honest, after getting 10 points in 5 games, we demand to qualify. Then, who knows? Too bad Panathinaikos is disqualified and we can't face him to have 2 easy games!

RAWK: Who do you think is your most important player(s)?

Rastafarian7: I think that Shurer the Argentinian center defender is the player that the club needed all this years in Europe. He knows how to calm down the game and his passing to the midfielder is more than decent.
RedWhite: Rivaldo, Giovanni, Djordjevic I'd say. Rivaldo is the new star in the team, everyone is expecting much from him. Giovanni is our favourite player. I dont have many words to say about him really, just PERFECT. There's no-one apart form Ronaldinho that can do the tricks that he does. No one. Djordjevic has been our most important player the past 8 years, the last 2 he is not as good though. Watch out for Stoltidis, Kafes and Pantos as well.
Rojoblanco: The key player of the club is definitely Predrag Djordjevic. He's the "barometer" of the team's performance.
Hasta7: Rivaldo, Djordjevic, Stoltidis, Schurrer.
PetrosKapa: Rivaldo of course, Gabriel Schurrer (DC), Antonis Nikopolidis (GK) and Giovanni (FC).

RAWK: Your worst player(s)?

Rastafarian7: Okkas, but with Olympiakos fans you can't be sure. If you ask 24 different fans you'll end up with 24 different opinions.
RedWhite: Hmm, until now no one of the starting eleven has been that bad at all. Probably Okkas is the worst player, he has wasted TOO many chances this year, both at home and in Europe. Georgiadis is not playing good as well (he is starting tomorrow).
Rojoblanco: Many will tell you Giannis Okkas, but the truth is that he's not our worst player, he's just out of form and very unlucky. If the word "worst" has the meaning "out of form", you've got your man.
Hasta7: Worst?... I don't know, but it's definitely not Okkas.
PetrosKapa: If I had to answer to this question in the previous summer, I may pick some defenders we have. But now things have changed and these players we thought they were useless, perform pretty well. So, I think I'll skip this question, because if I tell you a name of our reserves you probably don't know him. Ok, let's say a Croatian DM we have, Ivan Rezic. Okkas is not a bad player, he's just unlucky...

RAWK: Before moving to Olympiacos, Rivaldo expressed an interest in moving to Liverpool, and many fans felt he was too old and had lost his magic. How is he doing this season?

Rastafarian7: Well you have to see for yourself. It is from the Saturday match against Panathinaikos. Imagine him doing that against MUFC or Arsenal.

click for goal

RedWhite: No goal in European matches yet, quite good appearances though. The answer why this has happened since now is perhaps easy to say.. He starts the matches more as a MR (right midfielder) rather than AMC (att. midfielder). Tomorrow he'll play in his normal position I think, so he should be more dangerous. Anyway, he has helped the rest players just by playing next to them. He has 3 or 4 goals in Greece, the latest against Pao. Together with Giovanni they sometimes "hide" the ball ...

click here for an example in a goal by Castillo

Rojoblanco: Rivaldo plays well when he knows that the team needs him to play well. He played well against Panathinaikos and PAOK (Greek derbies) and in every home CL game. He doesn't help a lot in the away CL games but no one is expecting from him to do so in that age.
Hasta7: Really fine. He has scored 4 goals in Greece, and created 2 in CL. This is only the start though.
PetrosKapa: First of all, we have to thank these fans who thought like this! Rivaldo has hit 4 in the National League, scoring a fantastic foul-shot on Saturday versus our archrivals Panathinaikos (we won by 1-0). He's served a few assists to our attackers and provided us some moments of sheer magic. He's maybe a tad low in terms of physical condition, but still he's a great player.

RAWK: What do you expect in the way of atmosphere, singing, food etc from your trip to Anfield?  How does it compare to rival grounds, in Europe and in Greece?

Rastafarian7: The singing of "You'll never walk alone" in Anfield is one of the must see of European football.
RedWhite: Not been there, no opinion, sorry.
Rojoblanco: I believe that every fan of Olympiakos is expecting a great atmosphere in Anfield but not the kind we're used to in Greece (not that hot i mean). Sure, a visit to a historic ground like Anfield is an experience of a life time, but I truly believe that LFC's fans are going to experience the magic of the Greek non-stop singing ...
Hasta7: I really wish I could be there, but I can't. We expect a very nice atmosphere, but not a Greek one (if you come in Karaiskaki sometime, you'll see what I mean ...)
PetrosKapa: I won't come to Anfield but I would expect a great atmosphere from both you and us. It's completely different from what we face here in Greece on our away matches. Here, due to we are the biggest team, all the teams and fans prepare themselves for the matchday they face Olympiakos! I know it's hard to believe it, but it's true. Every single away game is like war for us, just because they don't have any other means to face us. Of course, this doesn't happen to Panathinaikos which controls some of the teams of our National League (they even have the same Board with a team, OFI, so can understand that their away games are fairly easy). About the facilities and other conviniences: They just don't exist. The stadiums are very bad (3-4 are only decent), the tickets are overpriced because each team's Board Director expects to become rich because he knows that Olympiakos fans always follow their team and generally the situation is extremely bad.

RAWK: Any young up and coming players in the squad that we might not know about?

Rastafarian7: Neri Castigio a 20 years old left wing attacker is the most promising player of the squad.
RedWhite: As I said you should look out for Stoltidis, Kafes, Pantos. The last two have greatly improved compared to their last season, it all has to do with the manager, Dusan Bajevic. Supposedly Castillo is our best young player but he's not starting the match.
Rojoblanco: Not really.
Hasta7: Maybe Spyros Vallas (DC), who will replace Gabriel Schurrer, if ''Gabi'' won't be able to play(hope that doesn't happen).
PetrosKapa: Watch out for Castillo (FC, 20), there is a possibility to start the game. We have some young players like Vallas (DC, 22) and Taralidis (DM, 22) but it's not odds-on to play. Also, remember a name for the future: Joacim D'Acol. Brazilian striker, 18.

RAWK: Do you have a particular memory of any previous meeting between Olympiakos and English teams?

Rastafarian7: The 2000/2001 match up with Liverpool for the UEFA cup was a perfect opportunity for us to ditch the bastard that was our coach at that time. He got fired after the draw in Athens.
RedWhite: Olympiakos-Liverpool 2-2 for the Uefa Cup (2000/2001 I think it was) with Alexandris scoring 2 spectacular goals and Olympiakos coming back from a 0-2. The whole stadium was shouting against our manager at that time, we finally managed to get him sacked.
Rojoblanco: The older Olympiakos fans still remember a friendly game in the early 70's against Leeds Utd in the old Karaiskakis stadium because of the about 50,000 fans that watched the game in a 32,000 capacity stadium.
Hasta7: Yes, Olympiacos-Liverpool 2-2, with 2 fantastic goals from our team and our manager been sacked.
PetrosKapa: Apart from our game, a few week ago, I remember a 2-2 draw again versus Liverpool in the Olympic Stadium, 3-4 years ago, when we pulled a late equalizer.

RAWK: What is your teams biggest weakness? (if any!)

Rastafarian7: The away curse as we call it in Greece. They just can't win an away game in CL.
RedWhite: All the previous years defence been our weak point. This year however Schurrer and Anatolakis are doing great. We can't score easily as well, despite creating many chances.
Rojoblanco: The "away CL game fear". No away win for Olympiakos in the history of CL because of that bad mentality.
Hasta7: The away matches ''curse''.We haven't won not a single away CL match.
PetrosKapa: Our European away games. We don't have an away win in 8 years in Champions League. Hopefully we'll stop this bad record soon ... in 24 hours.

RAWK: What sort of line-up will Olympiacos put out against us?

Rastafarian7: A 4-5-1 is the formation that Dusan Bayevic (our coach) prefers this year for the CL games.
RedWhite: 4 in defence ( Venetidis-Anatolakis-Schurrer-Pantos ) - Schurrer is coming from an injury, we pray to God he'll be ok for the match, otherwise you should expect an easy night for your team - sad.
4 in midfield ( Djordjevic-Stoltidis-Kafes-Georgiadis ). 2 in offence ( Rivaldo behind Giovanni). Expect Rivaldo, Giovanni and Georgiadis to be swapping positions during the match.
Rojoblanco: 4-4-1-1, with a lot of pressing and attention in the defence.
Hasta7: 4-4-1-1.
PetrosKapa: Do you want to inform Rafa?? Ok, we're going to play 4-5-1. Nikopolidis (GK), Venetidis (DL), Schurrer (DC) - if he's 100% ok, if not Vallas will start  - Anatolakis (DC), Pantos (DR), Kafes (DM), Stoltidis (DM), Djordjevic (ML), Georgiadis (MR), Rivaldo (AM), Giovanni (SC). I don't know if Dusan Bajevic has something else on mind.

RAWK: Do you have a favourite/best chant(s) / songs and perhaps any that require an explanation?

Rastafarian7: You will probably hear it after the you'll never walk alone chanting. It is a chant about our 21 brothers that died in 1981. It means Brothers You Live and You Are Leading Us.
RedWhite: You will hear "Aderfia zite esis mas odigite" many times, that's "Brothers you live and lead us"...
Rojoblanco: The translation doesn't help at all!
Hasta7: The translation suuuuuurely won't help ...We have a lot of them, though (our favourite maybe: Aderfia, zeite,eseis mas odigeite = Our brothers, you leave and lead us).
PetrosKapa: ΡΙΜΠΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟΟ!!!! That is Ribooooooo, when Rivaldo comes to take a free kick or a corner.

RAWK: What do Olympiacos fans think of Liverpool's plans for a mosaic in tribute to the fans killed in the Gate 7 tragedy?

Rastafarian7: I think we are in the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
RedWhite: Respect...
Rojoblanco: We think that is absolutely superb move!
Hasta7: Very nice gesture.
PetrosKapa: It's a very good move. Only teams/fans who experienced tragic events like this can understand us. It's really nice but a bit "ironic" to see fans from abroad to make this moves, while fans of other teams here in Greece have even disgusting chants concerning this incident. I will translate one, to see how idiot a human being can be, sorry for my language: Olympiakos, go fuck yourselves, you and your dead people. Can you believe it? They tell such things for dead people! And these idiots remain unpunished! Anyway, I think that that kind of moves deserve more publicity (I think it's way more important than Sir Alex's 1,000 matches). 96 + 21 YNWA.

RAWK: Which Liverpool player will you fear the most?

Rastafarian7: Gerrard ... he is the top class player of your team.
RedWhite: Gerrard probably...
Rojoblanco: Gerrard and Baros (despite his condition).
Hasta7: Baros, Gerrard, Xabi Alonso.
PetrosKapa: I'm not exactly afraid of Gerrard, but if he bosses the midfielders, we'll have a problem. Baros is good, but we can stop him (remember the Euro 2004 semi-final).

RAWK: And your feelings on the new 'Spanish flavour' Liverpool. Rafa Benitez himself and our new recruits?

Rastafarian7: Well any coach would be better than the previous one. But Rafa seems to have a plan for Liverpool.
RedWhite: Just give him some time ...
Rojoblanco: Not a good move I believe. Liverpool needs a really great coach and players with personality and great, great ability. Players that can win a match by themselves. Benitez should know that Valencia is one thing but LFC is a totally different world.
Hasta7: There's still a lot of work to be done, but the start has been made.
PetrosKapa: Well, Benitez is doing a fine job, but changing a team's mentality is a long process and the effect will be visible in the next season I think. The Spanish are good players (although a bit losers) and if Gerrard stays, a really good defender comes and you get some quick wingers, you'll be title contenders next season.

RAWK: Can Liverpool or Olympiacos win the Champions League, and if not, who do you think will?

Rastafarian7: Well Olympiakos can't win if we don't start winning away, cause the final would be an away match. As for Liverpool, I don't think that you are ready for a CL. Maybe in a year or two with some good transfers (a midfielder maybe to give some help to Gerard?)
RedWhite: This year with our new stadium, Olympiakos will hopefully move to an upper level. We expect our team to become better and better every year and of course reaching a final soon ...
Rojoblanco: No way. I think that Barcelona or Juventus is going to win the CL.
Hasta7: Naah... neither ... maybe Barcelona.
PetrosKapa: Who could predict Greece winning the Euro 2004? Not me, cause I would be filthy rich! Really, I can't see any of these teams win the CL. Chelsea, Juventus and Inter are the favourites for me, because no one can't beat them easily and this is what counts in knockout games.

RAWK: Care to predict the score?  Go on!

Rastafarian7: I wish 1-1, but it is more 2-1 to me ...
RedWhite: I dont usually make predictions, let's just say that Olympiakos will pass the stage.
Rojoblanco: I don't do predictions ...
Hasta7: 1-1 or 2-1 for LFC
PetrosKapa: We'll lose 2-1 and get the ticket for the next round.

Thanks to Rastafarian7, RedWhite, Rojoblanco, Hasta7 and PetrosKapa for their answers. We hope you have a good trip to Liverpool if you're coming over for the game.

© nidgemo/Rushian 2004

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