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Sponsors, officials get over a third of Champions League final tickets

ZURICH- Sponsors, officials and corporate hospitality programmes have been allocated more than one third of the 63,000 tickets for this year’s Champions League final in Kiev.

European soccer governing body UEFA said in a statement on Friday that 40,700 tickets would be available for “fans and the general public”.

“The remaining tickets (22,300) are allocated to the local organising committee, UEFA and national associations, commercial partners and broadcasters, and to serve the corporate hospitality programme,” it said.

The two finalists will receive 17,000 tickets each while 6,700 tickets will be put on sale to fans worldwide on UEFA’s website.

Prices will range from 70 euros ($86) for the cheapest to 450 euros for most expensive. UEFA said that prices had remained stable across all categories compared to last year’s final in Cardiff.

The match on May 26 will kick off at 21.45 local time.

The competition is now at the quarter-final stage with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Juventus, AS Roma, Manchester City, Liverpool and Bayern Munich still in contention.

($1 = 0.8108 euros)

(Brian Homewood)

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Klopp: I don´t mind facing Manchester City in Champions League

Jurgen Klopp says he does not mind being drawn against Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, though he expects Liverpool to be the underdogs.

The Reds will host the Premier League’s runaway leaders at Anfield on April 4 before the return leg at the Etihad Stadium six days later.

An all-Premier League tie will capture the imagination, with Liverpool the only team to have beaten City in the top flight this season.

“I’ve said it before and it’s still the truth,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website. “It’s always common in a draw that you’ll get your neighbour, more or less, but to be honest I don’t mind, really.

“It is exactly like it was before – we take what we’ve got. Now it’s Manchester City, let’s go.

“We’ve lost once and we’ve won once against them in the league, and I don’t think [beforehand] they thought the best draw they could have got is Liverpool. That’s a sign for us and how strong we can be.

“We are for sure not the favourites in this round, but in the last eight there are not a lot of favourites – maybe two of them, Bayern [Munich] and Barcelona – but thank God it’s football and nothing is decided.

“We have a few games to play until then, but I am really looking forward to it and we will give it everything.”

City arguably have an advantage having been given the second leg at home, but Klopp – whose six wins against Pep Guardiola are more than any other manager – denied playing at Anfield first is a negative for his side.

“In this case, it’s not too important. For us, it’s completely normal,” Klopp said. “We can get a result at home for sure, but it’s obviously a difficult game – but good news for both teams.

“It is like it should be in the last eight. It was clear we would face a strong team. Now we have Man City. The good thing is they are the team we know most about. It’s not too cool for England because now only one team can go to the semis. But we will try everything.

“We are already looking forward to [the first leg]. And it’s a nice, short trip for our supporters when we go to City. I know our away fans are fantastic, so that will be a great atmosphere as well. They are two really good games and a big challenge for both sides – but that’s like it should be.”

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Champions League draw: Juve face Madrid, City to meet Liverpool

Real Madrid will face Juventus in a repeat of last season’s Champions League final, while Premier League sides Manchester City and Liverpool have been drawn together in the quarter-finals.

Holders Madrid will have to beat Juventus again if they are to claim the trophy for the third year in a row, having triumphed 4-1 against the Italian champions in Cardiff last May.

Madrid will be at home for the second leg, with the first match of the tie to be played in Turin on April 3 or 4.

Manchester City will travel to Anfield for the first leg of their quarter-final as Pep Guardiola seeks a third Champions League title.

The Etihad Stadium will host the second leg of the all-Premier League tie on either April 10 or 11.

Sevilla’s reward for knocking out Manchester United in the round of 16 is a tie with German giants Bayern Munich, who have the advantage of playing the second leg at home.

And the other remaining Serie A side in the competition, Roma, have the daunting task of taking on LaLiga leaders Barcelona.

Roma, however, will play at their Stadio Olimpico home for the second leg of that tie.

Draw in full:

Barcelona v Roma

Sevilla v Bayern Munich

Juventus v Real Madrid

Liverpool v Manchester City

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The last 16 Champions League draw in full: Part 1

The Champions League this season has been really exciting, as teams who would have made it to round sixteen on papers are already out of the competition.

When you see teams like Napoli and Atletico Madrid, who are doing well in their respective leagues out of the Champions League at group stage level, it shows the level of competition in the Champions League this season. Tough and exciting clashes awaits football fans in February as the teams who are favorites are already facing themselves at the round of 16.

When four teams that seem capable of winning the Champions League are already facing off at round 16, then it cannot be less exciting.

Juventus vs. Tottenham

This is a match that will draw great attention from all over the world and it will be difficult for football pundits to crack as Tottenham have been itching to have a successful campaign in the Champions League for a long time. Everyone tipped them to go far last season but they were dumped out at the group stage. The farthest they’ve gone is Semifinals in 1961/62 season, they had a good run in 2011 before they were eliminated at the quarter finals by Real Madrid 5-0 on aggregates.

Juventus last won the champions league 22 years ago, and they’ve been at the final twice in the last 3 seasons. They’ll find this draw preferable than Barcelona, Real Madrid or PSG. It will be difficult to say the favorite, as the favorite will be the team in top shape come February.

Basel vs. Manchester City

Manchester City wouldn’t have had a better draw than this, they are the absolute winner in the round of 16 draw.

Manchester City had their best champion league run in the last two seasons before they got eliminated by Real Madrid 1-0 on aggregates.

There is a high expectation at the Etihad stadium after the appointment of Pep Guardiola who is considered best manager in the world, having won the Champions League trophy on two occasions in his four years at Barca. Time will tell if he will win the prestigious competition with Manchester City.

This is the third time Basel have made the last 16 of the competition, having qualified for the group stage eight times since the competition was revamped in 1992.

They reached the quarter-final of the European Cup in 1973/74, which remains their best performance in the continent’s top tournament.

Man City will have to be at their best to dump this Basel side, as they can be very tough if they are having a good day.

Porto vs. Liverpool

This is a clash between two historic clubs in the UEFA Champions League who have gone down the pecking order over the past years.

These two clubs are looking to make history in the Champions League again. Porto last won this competition in 2003 when Mourinho was their coach, Liverpool last won it in 2005 after a historic comeback from 3 goals down against AC Milan.

Porto are as at now top of their League table alongside Sporting CP while Liverpool are fourth in the Premier league. The favorite appears to be Liverpool even though It will be a really close encounter. The team who arrives in the best shape by February will be the team to emerge Victorious.

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Real test of English Champions League ‘revival’ will come in knockout stage

MANCHESTER, England – England will have a record five teams in the draw for the last-16 of the Champions League but it will take a repeat of their knockout stage dominance from a decade ago for talk of a new era of Premier League success to be justified.

Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Liverpool all topped their groups after this week’s final round of games, while Chelsea qualified in second place from their section.

No country has ever had five clubs in the knockout stage with the previous best being four from the same nation – achieved on several occasions by England, Spain and Germany.

While there were some eye-catching results which suggest real progress, such as Tottenham’s 3-1 win over Real Madrid at Wembley, there were few genuinely tough tests for the wealthy English clubs.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte perhaps had a point when he noted that his side, who finished behind AS Roma and above Atletico Madrid, had a tougher route than most of their Premier League rivals.

“I think it was not simple, but easy for a lot of these teams to go into the next round,” he said after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Atletico.

Liverpool enjoyed 7-0 wins at home to Spartak Moscow and away to Maribor and while their manager Juergen Klopp made a point of stating “the Champions League is not easier than the Premier League”, his team are unlikely to enjoy many 7-0 wins in the domestic competition.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola went to great lengths to praise group rivals Napoli and Shakhtar Donetsk as two of the top teams in Europe but whatever their level, his squad was still able to qualify with two games to spare.

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United were barely worried by Basel, CSKA Moscow and a poor Benfica team that lost all six of their games.

WINTER WORRIES

Monday’s draw will set up some clashes that will offer a much stronger indication of whether the English clubs are getting back to the kind of level they showed between 2006 and 2009 when they had a trio of teams in the semi-finals for three straight years.

One factor that has often been blamed for recent failures of English clubs is the intensity of the domestic campaign, with its heavy winter schedule taking a toll before the ‘business end’ of the Champions League.

Conte suggests that could again be a factor.

“We have to see. Don’t forget, here the season is very tough. You have to play a lot of games. When you accumulate games and then you arrive at the final stage, playing in the quarters or the semis, the English teams have a lot of games in their legs,” added the Italian.

“For this reason, it could be problematic to win. But… the English teams are very good and have the possibility to win and reach the final of the Champions League.”

Certainly there is no sign of over-confidence from the foreign managers of the English teams with Mourinho saying United are not “candidates” to win the title in Kiev in May, while Guardiola believes the favourites are familiar names.

“Maybe you are good today and in February you are a disaster or the opposite,” he said.

“It will be tough, the three contenders are tough [Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich] and so are the others but we are going to try.”

(Simon Evans)

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Before you bet on the Champions League 05 – 06/12/2017

Before you bet on the Champions League 05 – 06/12/2017

SL Benfica – FC Basel 5/12/2017 21:45

SL Benfica have failed to score a goal in each of their last 4 Champions League games.
SL Benfica score an average of 0.5 goals in their home matches in Champions League.
In SL Benfica’s last 3 Champions League games were scored under 2.5 goals.
FC Basel have failed to score a single goal in 4 of their last 5 away Champions League games.
Football predictions: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.95

Chelsea FC – Atlético Madrid 5/12/2017 21:45

Atlético Madrid have failed to score a single goal in their last 3 away Champions League games.
Atlético Madrid conceded an average of 0.6 goals in their matches in Champions League.
Under 2.5 goals have been scored in 6 of Atlético Madrid’s last 8 away matches in Champions League.
In Atlético Madrid’s last 3 Champions League games were scored under 2.5 goals.
Football predictions: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.80

Feyenoord – SSC Napoli 6/12/2017 21:45

SSC Napoli have managed to score 1+ goals in their last 10 matches in Champions League.
There have been over 2.5 goals in SSC Napoli’s last 5 Champions League games.
Feyenoord are conceding an average of 3 goals in home Champions League matches.
Over 2.5 goals have been seen in 4 of Feyenoord’s last 5 matches in Champions League.
Football predictions: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.50

FC Porto – AS Monaco 6/12/2017 21:45

AS Monaco have conceded 2+ goals in 4 of their last 6 away Champions League games.
Over 2.5 goals have been seen in 11 of AS Monaco’s last 14 matches in Champions League.
FC Porto are scoring an average of 2 goals in home Champions League games.
Over 2.5 goals were scored in 4 of FC Porto’s last 5 matches in Champions League.
Football predictions: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.57

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Champions League in Opta numbers

Borussia Dortmund are on the brink of Champions League elimination and need to beat Tottenham on Tuesday to have any chance of reaching the knockout phase.

Peter Bosz’s men welcome Spurs to Signal Iduna Park having won just one of their last five matches across all competitions, but even victory might not be enough to save them – they also need Real Madrid to drop points against Cypriot club APOEL.

Napoli will be in a similarly dire position against Shakhtar Donetsk having picked up just three points in the competition so far this term, a remarkably poor record considering their immense start to the season in Serie A.

Liverpool could take a huge step towards the knockout phase with a win at Sevilla, but the Spaniards possess a formidable record at home.

Below, we examine the key Opta numbers behind Tuesday’s matches.

Spartak Moscow v Maribor

14 – Maribor have the second worst defensive record in this season’s Champions League, having conceded 14 times in four matches. Only Anderlecht (15) have allowed more.

4 – The visitors will have to be particularly alert to the attacking threats of Quincy Promes, who had a hand in four (two goals, two assists) of Spartak’s goals in the 5-1 win over Sevilla.

Sevilla v Liverpool

6 – Liverpool will do well to emerge victorious at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, as Sevilla have won six of their last seven home matches in the Champions League (one defeat in that period).

13 – Jurgen Klopp’s men certainly possess the attacking prowess to cause problems, though, as evidenced by their 13 goals in the group stage so far, a record bettered by only Paris Saint-Germain (17).

Napoli v Shakhtar Donetsk

2 – Only two teams since the start of the 2003-04 season have progressed to the knockout phase of the Champions League after winning just three points from their first four matches, as is Napoli’s situation.

7 – But in Dries Mertens, Napoli have a forward capable of inspiring them to victory, with the Belgian involved in seven (five goals, two assists) of their last 11 goals at home in the competition.

Manchester City v Feyenoord

3 – Raheem Sterling goes into this clash having scored in each of his last three Champions League matches for Manchester City, who have already qualified for the knockout phase.

7 – Feyenoord have lost their last seven matches in the Champions League, scoring just five times.

Besiktas v Porto

40 – Of the 41 teams to have won 10 points from their first four group matches in the Champions League since 2003-04, only one has failed to reach the knockout phase. If Besiktas emulate the other 40, it will be the first time they have ever progressed beyond the group.

7 – Vincent Aboubakar will be arguably the biggest threat to Besiktas’ chances on Tuesday. He comes into the match having been involved in seven goals (six goals, one assist) in as many Champions League games, some of which were for the Turkish club last season.

Monaco v RB Leipzig

64 – When these two sides met on matchday one, Monaco were accurate with just 64 per cent of their passes. Only APOEL managed worse in a single Champions League match this season.

11 – In Marcel Sabitzer, Leipzig have one of the most creative players in the Champions League, having set up 11 chances this term. Only Eden Hazard, Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos have laid on more.

Borussia Dortmund v Tottenham

2 – Bosz’s Dortmund have claimed just two points so far in the Champions League, meaning they need to win and hope Real Madrid do not to have any hope of qualifying for the knockout phase.

7 – If Dortmund are to keep their chances alive, they will likely have to keep Harry Kane at bay. The England star has had a role in seven goals (five goals, two assists) in this season’s competition – no player has been involved in more.

APOEL v Real Madrid

30 – No team in this year’s competition have averaged a lower share of possession than APOEL, who have had 30 per cent of the ball in their games.

16 – Real Madrid will secure their passage to the last 16 if they beat APOEL.

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Porto set to leapfrog RB Leipzig in Group G

On Wednesday night, Portuguese side Porto host Champions League debutants RB Leipzig in Group G of Europe’s elite competition.

Porto are currently third place in the group after a poor start to their European campaign. Last time out in the competition, the Portuguese side suffered a 3-2 defeat against the visitors in Leipzig.

The win moved the German side into the qualification spots for the knockout stages. However, the visitors are just a point ahead of Sergio Conceicao’s team in the table.

Porto are in good form in their domestic league and currently sit top of the Primeira Liga table. Last time out the home side won 3-0 at Boavista. The win means they are now ten games unbeaten in the Portuguese top-flight.

However, their record in the Champions League is not as impressive. In fact, Porto have lost four of their last five outings in the competition, while also conceding at least two goals in three of those four defeats.

Even their European record at the Estadio Do Dragao is not great, as they have won just two of their last seven games on home soil in the Champions League.

RB Leipzig have made a mixed start to their first ever season in the Champions League, having picked up four points from their three group games so far.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team have started their domestic campaign in decent form, despite suffering a 2-0 defeat at reigning German champions Bayern Munich last time out.

The visitors suffered defeat in their only away outing in the Champions League so far, losing 2-0 at group leaders Besiktas.

With Turkish side Besiktas looking set to win the group and Monaco struggling, this game could have a major hand in deciding who takes the second automatic qualification spot.

Forebet predicts that Porto will record a win to move above the German visitors in the group table.

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AS Monaco – Besiktas JK 17/10/2017 19:45

AS Monaco have conceded 1+ goals in all of their last 10 Champions League games.
Over 2.5 goals were scored in Besiktas JK’s last 3 away matches in Champions League.
Over 2.5 goals were scored in 9 of AS Monaco’s last 11 matches in Champions League.
AS Monaco have scored 2+ goals in 4 of their last 6 home Champions League games.
Football predictions: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.65

Spartak Moscow – Sevilla FC 17/10/2017 19:45

Sevilla FC are unbeaten in 6 of their last 7 Champions League games.
Sevilla FC have drawn in 3 of their last 6 away Champions League games.
Spartak Moscow are undefeated in their last 6 league games in their domestic league.
Spartak Moscow are undefeated in 20 of their last 22 home domestic league games.
Football predictions: Draw @ 3.65

CSKA Moscow – FC Basel 18/10/2017 19:45

FC Basel have failed to score a goal in each of their last 4 away Champions League games.
CSKA Moscow have kept a clean sheet in 4 of their last 6 Champions League games.
In CSKA Moscow’s last 7 Russian Premier League games were scored under 2.5 goals.
CSKA Moscow have kept a clean sheet in their last 5 matches in the Russian Premier League.
Football predictions: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.85

SL Benfica – Manchester United 18/10/2017 19:45

SL Benfica have lost their last 3 Champions League games.
SL Benfica have won just 1 of their last 6 matches in Champions League.
Manchester United have won 11 of their last 13 all competitions games.
Manchester United are undefeated in 54 of their last 58 all competitions games.
Football predictions: Manchester United @ 1.83

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Champions League Matchday One: Juventus to break Italian record, Celtic braced for Neymar

A little over three months have passed since Real Madrid made surprisingly light work of Juventus in a 4-1 win to lift the Champions League trophy for a record 12th time and become the first team to successfully defend their crown in the modern era.

Madrid will have to wait until Wednesday to begin their campaign, but runners-up Juve are among those in action on Tuesday, and things are not going to be much easier for Massimiliano Allegri’s men as they head to Barcelona in arguably the game of the round – a repeat of last season’s quarter-final.

Europa League champions Manchester United make their return to the competition after a year out, as do their Premier League rivals Chelsea, with Basel and Azerbaijani newcomers Qarabag their respective visitors.

Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain will unleash Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for the first time in Europe as they travel to Celtic.

Using Opta data, we take a look at some of the best stats ahead of the opening group games on Tuesday.

BENFICA v CSKA MOSCOW

– Benfica have not made it any further than the quarter-finals of the Champions League since 1992-93.
– Benfica and CSKA Moscow’s only previous encounter was in the last 32 of the 2004-05 UEFA Cup. The Russian side progressed thanks to a 2-0 home win and 1-1 draw in Lisbon; they went on to lift the trophy later that season.
– CSKA are making their 11th Champions League appearance – their fifth in a row. That is the second most for a Russian side after Spartak Moscow (12).
– CSKA are winless in their last 10 Champions League games (D4 L6), equaling their longest run without a victory in the competition. Away from home, they have lost 11 of their last 13 Champions League games (W1 D1).

– This is Viktor Goncharenko’s fourth Champions League campaign as manager, after three previous appearances with BATE Borisov. He was the first manager to lead a Belarusian team into the group stages of the competition.

MANCHESTER UNITED v BASEL

– Basel are unbeaten against United at Old Trafford, having drawn their two trips to North-West England (1-1 in March 2003, 3-3 in September 2011).
– United have reached the knockout stages in 16 of their previous 20 Champions League appearances; however they have not made it past the group stages since 2013-14.
– Basel are winless in their last 10 Champions League games (D4 L6), their longest drought in the competition. They have also not scored more than one goal in those 10 games.
– Jose Mourinho is taking part in the Champions League with a fifth different club after Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Only Carlo Ancelotti (7), Rafael Benitez and Claudio Ranieri (6) have taken charge of more clubs in the competition.

– Paul Pogba has only scored two goals in 32 Champions League games.

BAYERN MUNICH v ANDERLECHT

– This is the 20th time in the last 21 seasons that Bayern Munich have qualified for the Champions League, the only exception coming in 2007-08. They have reached the semis in six of the last eight seasons.
– Bayern Munich have won 20 of their last 25 Champions League group games (L5), with their last draw coming in November 2012 against Valencia (1-1).
– Anderlecht have never made the knockout stages of the Champions League in their 11 previous participations.
– Robert Lewandowski has scored 40 goals in 61 Champions League games since his debut in the competition in 2011-12. Over that period, only Cristiano Ronaldo (77 goals) and Lionel Messi (57 goals) have found the net on more occasions.

– Anderlecht have won only three of their last 37 Champions League games (D10 L24). They have also only kept four clean sheets in those 37 games.

CELTIC v PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

– PSG have not progressed further than the quarter-finals in the last five seasons. Their best performance to date is a semi-final in 1994-95 when they were eliminated by AC Milan.
– Neymar has delivered 12 assists over the last two seasons of the Champions League, three more than any other player (Cristiano Ronaldo, 9). He has also had a hand in 10 goals (four goals, six assists) in four Champions League games versus Celtic.
– Dani Alves has more goals (10) and more assists (25) than any other full-back in the Champions League since his debut with Sevilla in 2007-08. He is the second Brazilian to have played in 100 games in the competition after Roberto Carlos.
– Brendan Rodgers has won only one of his 12 group games as manager in the Champions League, with that sole victory coming against Ludogorets (2-1) in September 2014 when he was in charge of Liverpool.

– Celtic have won only one of their last 14 Champions League games (D3 L10), this came in October 2013 against Ajax.

CHELSEA v QARABAG

– This is the first ever competitive encounter between Chelsea and Qarabag. In fact, the only previous meeting between English and Azerbaijani sides saw Tottenham face Qarabag in the 2015/16 Europa League group stages; Spurs won both games (3-1 at home, 1-0 in Baku).
– Qarabag are the only team, alongside RB Leipzig, to make their Champions League debut this season. They are also the first team from Azerbaijan to reach the group stages of the competition.
– Eden Hazard has scored only one goal in his last 12 Champions League games, it was from the penalty spot.
– This is Antonio Conte’s third Champions League campaign as manager. His best performance was in 2012-13 when he reached the quarter-finals with Juventus.

– Chelsea have lost only one of their last 13 Champions League group games (W9 D3), away against Porto in September 2015 (1-2). The Blues have also scored in each of their last 24 group games at Stamford Bridge.

ROMA v ATLETICO MADRID

– Roma have won only one of their last 13 Champions league games (D5 L7). That was against Bayer Leverkusen in November 2015 (3-2).
– Roma have also only kept one clean sheet in their last 22 Champions League games (a goalless draw against BATE Borisov in December 2015), conceding a total of 51 goals over that period.
– Diego Simeone’s teams have conceded on average 0.67 goals per game in the Champions League (32 in 48 games), the best ratio among managers to have taken charge of 20 or more games in the competition.
– Only Real Madrid have played more Champions League games (51) than Atletico (48) over the last four seasons.

– Antoine Griezmann has scored or assisted 50% of Atletico’s goals in the Champions League over the last two seasons (13 goals and 3 assists).

BARCELONA v JUVENTUS

– Barcelona have won 13 of their last 16 Champions League group games (D2 L1). They have also scored in 43 of their last 44 group games, the only exception coming against Benfica in December 2012 (0-0) when Barca were already guaranteed top their group.
– This is Juventus’ 18th appearance in the Champions League, a new record for an Italian side ahead of AC Milan (17).
– Lionel Messi has netted 94 goals in the Champions League, the second highest tally in the competition behind Cristiano Ronaldo (105). Ten of his 11 goals last season were scored in the group stages.
– Ernesto Valverde is taking charge of a fourth club in the Champions League after Olympiakos, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao. He has never gone further than the round of 16.

– Massimiliano Allegri has reached the knockout stages in each of his seven campaigns as manager in the Champions League. He was beaten finalist in two of the last three seasons with Juventus.

OLYMPIACOS v SPORTING CP

– Olympiacos are making their 18th appearance in the Champions League, which is twice as many as any other Greek side (Panathinakos, 9). Their best performance came in 1998-99 when they reached the quarter-finals.
– Sporting have lost six of their last seven Champions League games (W1), including their last four. They have never lost five in a row in the competition.
– Olympiacos are the third club Besnik Hasi has managed in the Champions League, after Anderlecht (6 games) and Legia Warsaw (1 game). He has only won one of his seven games so far.
– Sporting are Seydou Doumbia’s third club in the Champions League after CSKA Moscow and Basel. With 14 goals, he is the second most prolific Ivorian in the competition after Didier Drogba (44).

– Sporting manager Jorge Jesus has taken charge of 40 games in the Champions League, the second most for a Portuguese manager after Jose Mourinho (133). His best performance dates back to 2011-12 when he reached the quarter-finals with Sporting’s bitter rivals Benfica.