Crvena zvezda will again be looking to impress on home soil as Olympiacos, fresh from a fine comeback, come to Belgrade.
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Crvena zvezda recorded some notable results at home in their UEFA Champions League group stage debut in 2018/19 and will be looking for more of the same when Olympiacos visit in the second round of Group B matches.
• While the Serbian champions were beaten 3-0 at Bayern München on matchday one – making it four group stage defeats from four, and 16 goals conceded, away from home – Olympiacos rallied from two goals down at home to Tottenham to salvage a draw.
• This is the sides' first fixture.
• The matchday one defeat at Bayern continued Crvena zvezda's losing run in away group games, although two of the German club's three goals came in the final ten minutes.
• In 2018/19 the Belgrade club reached the group stage from the first qualifying round and went on to finish fourth in their group, although they did claim a first group stage win for Serbia with a 2-0 home defeat of Liverpool on matchday four, Milan Pavkov scoring both goals. They also held Napoli 0-0 at home on their matchday one debut, although their last home fixture was a 4-1 loss against Paris.
• This season, Vladan Milojević's side again started their European campaign in the first qualifying round, where they were 2-1 aggregate winners against Sūduva of Lithuania (0-0 a, 2-1 h). They subsequently came through tight ties against HJK Helsinki (2-0 h, 1-2 a) and FC København (1-1 h, 1-1 a, 7-6 pens) before beating Young Boys on away goals in the play-offs (2-2 a, 1-1 h).
• Crvena zvezda have won only three of their last 17 European fixtures (D8 L6) although the 4-1 defeat at home to Paris on matchday six of last season's UEFA Champions League is their only reverse in 13 UEFA matches in Belgrade (W6 D6). They have lost only two of their last 20 European home matches (W10 D8).
• 'Red Star' have won all five games at home to Greek clubs, most recently beating Panathinaikos 1-0 in the 1991/92 European Champion Clubs' Cup third round second leg (3-0 aggregate), a game played in Sofia. They have scored 13 goals in that five-match sequence, conceding only two.
• European champions in 1991, Crvena zvezda claimed their second successive Serbian league title in 2018/19 and a 29th national championship overall.
• The Piraeus club looked set to start the 2019/20 group stage with a defeat when Spurs established a 2-0 lead in Greece on matchday one, but Daniel Podence halved the deficit before the break and Mathieu Valbuena earned a draw with a second-half penalty.
• The point from that fixture matched the Greek side's six-match total from their last UEFA Champions League group stage campaign in 2017/18, when they finished bottom of a section including Barcelona, Juventus and Sporting CP.
• In 2018/19 Olympiacos went from the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round to the round of 32 thanks to a memorable matchday six defeat of AC Milan in Piraeus. They were unable to get past Dynamo Kyiv in the first knockout round, however, going out 3-2 on aggregate (2-2 h, 0-1 a).
• Second in the 2018/19 Greek Super League behind PAOK, Pedro Martins' side are unbeaten in this season's UEFA Champions League, having kicked off in the second qualifying round. They beat Viktoria Plzeň (0-0 a, 4-0 h) and İstanbul Başakşehir in the third qualifying round (1-0 a, 2-0 h) before overcoming Krasnodar in the play-offs (4-0 h, 2-1 a) and then drawing with Spurs.
• This season's results have made it three European away games without defeat for Olympiacos (W2 D1), who have lost their last four away matches in the UEFA Champions League group stage and eight of the last ten (W2).
• Olympiacos won 3-1 at Crvena zvezda's Belgrade rivals Partizan in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg, setting up a 5-3 aggregate triumph. They lost 2-1 at Rad in their only other match in Serbia, in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round first leg (3-2 aggregate).
Links and trivia
• Crvena zvezda head coach Milojević spent the majority of his playing days in Greece, representing PAS Giannina (1993/94), Kalamata (1994/95), Apollon Smyrni (1996/97 and 2004), Panathinaikos (1997–2000), Iraklis (2000–03) and Akratitos (2003). As a player he faced Olympiacos 14 times, winning only once while suffering ten defeats. He was sent off in an Olympiacos-Panathinaikos derby in December 1997.
• Milojević spent 2016/17 in the Greek Super League at the helm of Panionios, when Giorgos Masouras was in the club's squad. Milojević's Panionios won 1-0 at Olympiacos in February 2017.
• Marko Marin was an Olympiacos player from 2016 to 2018, scoring 12 goals in 59 matches in all competitions.
• Have also played in Greece:
José Cañas (PAOK 2016–19)
Mateo García (Aris 2018/19)
Tomané (Panetolikos 2016)
• Cañas won three successive Greek Cups and the 2018/19 Super League title with PAOK.
• Have played together:
Marko Marin & Andreas Bouchalakis, Omar Elabdellaoui, Pape Abou Cissé (Olympiacos 2016–18)
Marko Marin & Pape Abou Cissé (Olympiacos 2017/18)
Radovan Pankov & Lazar Randjelović (Radnički Niš 2018/19)
Jander & Daniel Podence (Moreirense 2016/17)
Tomané & Bruno Gaspar (Vitória SC 2014–16)
Srdjan Babić, Milan Gajić & Lazar Randjelović (Serbia Under-21s)
• Summer transfers
In: Mateo García (Las Palmas), Tomané (Tondela), Njegoš Petrović (Rad), Radovan Pankov (Radnicki Niš), Nikola Vasiljević (Radnik), Jander (Pafos), Miloš Degenek (al-Hilal, loan), José Cañas (PAOK), Rajiv van La Parra (Huddersfield)
Out: Dejan Joveljić (Eintracht), Aleksa Terzić (Fiorentina), Lorenzo Ebecilio (Júbilo Iwata), Goran Čaušić (Arsenal Tula), Vujadin Savić (APOEL), Zé Marcos (Avaí), Stefan Fićović (Grafičar Beograd), Dejan Meleg (Radnicki Niš), Nenad Milijaš (retired), Nemanja Supić (retired), Erik Jirka (Radnicki Niš, loan), Stefan Hajdin (Voždovac, loan), Filip Stojković (Rapid Wien)
• Crvena zvezda's 11-match winning run in the Serbian Super League, including the first six this season, was ended by a 2-0 loss at Partizan in the Belgrade derby on 22 September.
• It was Crvena zvezda's first league defeat by two goals since a 3-1 home loss, also against Partizan, on 18 April 2017.
• Having lost at Bayern four days previously, Crvena zvezda therefore suffered successive defeats in all competitions for the first time since May 2017.
• The Belgrade club had suffered only one defeat in their previous 69 league outings, a 3-2 loss at Čukarički on 20 April this year. Their record otherwise was W62 D6 before the loss at Partizan.
• Crvena zvezda have scored two or more goals in their other eight league matches in 2019/20; they beat Mačva Šabac 3-1 in Belgrade on Saturday.
• Richmond Boakye returned as a second-half substitute against Bayern on matchday one having been out since the play-off second leg against Young Boys on 27 August with a hamstring injury.
• Milan Rodić played 61 minutes at home to Mačva Šabac having not featured since 14 September due to injury.
• Mateo García has been sidelined by a muscle injury since matchday one.
• Summer transfers
In: Rúben Semedo (Villarreal), Εl Arbi Hillel Soudani (Nottingham Forest)*, Bruno (LASK Linz)*, Svetozar Marković (FK Partizan)*, Mathieu Valbuena (Fenerbahçe), Bobby Allain (Dijon), Youssef El Arabi (al-Duhail), Fiorin Durmishaj (Panionios)*, José Sá (Porto, loan made permanent), Ousseynou Ba (Ajaccio)*, Maximiliano Lovera (Rosario Central), Yassine Benzia (LOSC Lille, loan), Bruno Gaspar (Sporting CP, loan)
Out: Björn Engels (Reims), Dimitris Nikolaou (Empoli), Bibras Natcho (Partizan), Dimitris Goutas (Atromitos), Andreas Gianniotis (Maccabi Tel-Aviv), Igor Silva (Osijek, loan), Giorgos Manthatis (Anorthosis, loan), Dimitris Manos (OFI, loan), Marios Vrousai (Willem II, loan), Franco Soldano (Boca Juniors, loan), Lefteris Choutesiotis (released), Fiorin Durmishaj (Waasland-Beveren, loan), Matías Nahuel (Tenerife), Thanasis Androutsos (Atromitos, loan), Jagoš Vuković (released)
*Not in UEFA Champions League squad
• Mathieu Valbuena made his 100th appearance in UEFA club competition on matchday one, marking it with his eighth European goal.
• Olympiacos's record this season is W9 D3, with 25 goals scored and only four conceded. They had won eight matches in a row before matchday one, but had drawn two in a row before Saturday's 2-0 home win against Lamia.
• Olympiacos are unbeaten in their last 20 matches in all competitions (W17 D3). Their last defeat came on 28 February, when they lost 1-0 at home to Lamia in the Greek Cup quarter-final second leg.
• The Piraeus club dropped their only points in this season's Super League on 22 September, in the away derby against Panathinaikos (1-1).
• Pape Abou Cissé has not played since 14 September and spent a week in hospital with a respiratory infection. He is expected to return to action after October's international break.
• Rúben Semedo underwent arthroscopic surgery after picking up a knee injury during the play-off second leg against Krasnodar, returning against Tottenham on matchday one.
• Olympiacos captain Kostas Fortounis is expected to be out of action until March 2020 after suffering a knee ligament injury in a pre-season friendly against Hamburg on 10 July.
• Lazaros Christodoulopoulos has been sidelined since 17 February with a cruciate knee ligament injury and has not been included in this season's UEFA Champions League squad. He returned to full training during the international break in September.
• Uncapped trio José Sá, Daniel Podence and Rúben Semedo have been called up by Portugal for the upcoming UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers against Luxembourg and Ukraine.
• Former player Alejandro Domínguez joined the Olympiacos scouting department on 20 September; he will focus mainly on South America.