One of the least talked about ties in the Round of 16, Bordeaux’s match-up with Olympiacos, could turn out to be one of the most important in shaping the face of the Champions League as well as French football. Lyon’s ouster of Real Madrid last week combined with a potential advancement by Les Girondins would put two Ligue 1 clubs in the quarter-finals, which last occurred when Monaco reached the finals back in the 2003-2004 season.
Looking at the domestic form of Les Girondins does not fill one with confidence. They club has failed to win any of their last three games in a run that has threatened their Ligue 1 title defence. Over the course of the last ten days Bordeaux have been held by Montpellier, defeated by Auxerre and held to a scoreless draw by Monaco. It must be said that Bordeaux manager Laurent Blanc has taken the opportunity to rest some key players such as star players Yoann Gourcuff and Marouane Chamakh.
Bordeaux hold a narrow one goal advantage from the first-leg but it is an away goal so Olympiacos will need to win by at least a 2-1 or 2-0 scoreline to advance. Olympiacos has had a domestic dynasty in recent seasons, having won the last five Greek Super League championships, and having been crowned champions in nine of the last 10 seasons overall, they currently lie third behind Panathinaikos and PAOK (Panthessalonikian Athletic Club of Constantinopolitans). They still have two games to play against leaders Panathinaikos (who hold a 7-point lead) so they still have a chance albeit a slight one.
Making this an even more uphill battle, Olympiacos have not won away from home in the Champions League proper since a 2-1 group-stage triumph at Lazio in November of 2007. That was their second away success in three games, having had to wait 31 matches for their first, but they have lost three of their four matches since that Lazio victory with the other result being a draw. Kostas Mitroglou will need to lead the line for Olympiacos and hope that he can add to his team-leading haul of 3 Champions League goals.
I foresee a Bordeaux win and a historic night for French football.