Olympiacos FC missed out on the group stage last season but take a narrow advantage to HNK Rijeka for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off tie.
• The first leg was the clubs’ first meeting in UEFA competition. Rijeka took the lead through Héber’s stunning strike before half-time, only for Olympiacos to equalise through Vadis Odjidja before completing the turnaround thanks to Alaixys Romao’s goal three minutes into added time.
• Rijeka had never played a Greek team before their trip to Piraeus.
• Before facing Rijeka, Olympiacos had played six matches against Croatian opposition – all against GNK Dinamo Zagreb. They beat Dinamo 3-1 at home in the 1977/78 UEFA Cup first round first leg only to lose the return 5-1, but have enjoyed better fortune in UEFA Champions League group games against the same opponents.
• The Greek club overcame Dinamo 2-0 at home in 1998/99, drawing 1-1 away, and recorded away (1-0) and home (2-1) wins against them in 2015/16.
• Rijeka were unbeaten in seven European matches (W2 D5), home and away, before the first leg.
• The Croatian club have lost only one (W9 D6 L1) of their last 16 European home games – 3-0 at Aberdeen FC in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.
• Rijeka reached this season’s play-offs by beating Welsh champions The New Saints FC 7-1 on aggregate in the second qualifying round (2-0 home, 5-1 away) before ousting FC Salzburg on away goals (1-1 away, 0-0 home).
• This is only Rijeka’s second UEFA Champions League campaign; in their first, in 1999/2000, they crashed out 6-1 on aggregate against FK Partizan in the second qualifying round.
• This is Rijeka’s fifth consecutive season in Europe, with their most successful campaigns in that run coming in 2013/14 and 2014/15, when they contested the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Olympiacos qualified with a 5-3 aggregate victory against Partizan in the third qualifying round (3-1 away, 2-2 home).
• The Greek side have won two of their last three away European games.
• Olympiacos lost to Hapoel Beer-Sheva FC in last season’s third qualifying round – the first time they had missed out on the UEFA Champions League group stage since 2010/11.
• In 2016/17, the Greek side went on to reach the UEFA Europa League round of 16, going down 5-2 on aggregate to Beşiktaş JK.
• Olympiacos are aiming to reach the group stage for the 18th time.
Team and coach links
• Born in Osijek, in eastern Croatia, Olympiacos defender Hrvoje Milić started his career with HNK Hajduk Split, returning there for a second spell in August 2015. He moved to Greece this summer after a season with ACF Fiorentina.
• Milić played alongside Rijeka’s Andrej Prskalo at NK Istra 1961 for two seasons (2011/12, 2012/13).
• Hired in February 2013, Rijeka coach Matjaž Kek led his native Slovenia to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Kek had started and finished his playing career as a defender at NK Maribor – where his father and son also played – either side of a long stint in Austria. He returned home to Maribor for his first coaching roles before a sojourn in Saudi Arabia with al-Ittihad. Under his stewardship, Rijeka landed the Croatian double last term.
• Previously assistant coach, Besnik Hasi assumed sole command at RSC Anderlecht in March 2014. Capped 47 times by Albania, Hasi guided the Purple-and-Whites to the Belgian title two months later. He moved to Legia Warszawa in June 2016 but was dismissed that September. Olympiacos tempted him back into coaching this summer.
• Neither Rijeka nor Olympiacos have ever featured in a UEFA penalty shoot-out.