ECL Final Preview – Greek or Italian winners?

Get ready for the ECL final with our special preview!

The second of the three European Cup finals will take place this Wednesday and it is the turn of the ECL to take centre stage. Olympiakos will have a sort of home advantage in this tie as their home stadium is a mere nine kilometres away in Piraeus, a nice bonus especially given that this is their first appearance in a European Cup final of any sort. 

The fact that Olympiakos have even made it to a final is somewhat of a surprise as they have not had the best of seasons and they ended the regular season in third place in the Greek Super League. Not many gave them much hope against PL side Aston Villa, who have had an excellent season themselves but they beat them 6-2 on aggregate, a very impressive overall result. Prior to that they also got the better of Turkish giants Fenerbahce so they certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly by Fiorentina. That being said, they have a very poor recent record against Italian teams, losing six of the last seven meetings. Olympiakos’ overall recent form has been good though as they go into this final with a record of only two losses in their last twelve competitive matches and the man leading them, Jose Luis Mendilibar, won the EL last year with Sevilla, so the Greek team will be confident in the plan that their manager will come up with on the day. 

This is the second consecutive year that Fiorentina have made it to the final of this competition, having lost out to West Ham in last season’s showpiece event. A win here would not only make up for that loss but would also end a 63 year wait for a European trophy of any sort for the team from Tuscany. Fiorentina are also in good form going into this match with only one loss in their last seven matches and have the advantage of already having played in a final. Their recent record in Europe is very impressive as they are unbeaten in their last thirteen matches and will go into this match as favourites to win the trophy. The last three times Fiorentina played against a Greek opponent it was always PAOK and they failed to beat them on all three occasions. Their run to the final saw them get the better of Plzen in the quarter-finals and then a 4-3 aggregate win over Club Brugge in the semi-finals. 

Olympiakos tend to score late in matches with their last five goals scored after the 60th  minute and they have a man in form, the top scorer in this season’s ECL, Ayoub El Kaabi, who has scored fifteen goals in the eighteen games he has played.  The odds favour the Italian team at 2.30, understandable considering it is their second consecutive final. Their final league match wasn’t played on the last game day as every other team in Serie A, meaning that they have one more match to play after this final. No matter what happens against Atalanta at the weekend, Fiorentina are guaranteed to finish in eighth place, which guarantees that they will at least be playing in the ECL again next season. The Italian team have won two of their last five matches whereas Olympiakos have fared slightly better, winning three of their last five matches. 

It is likely to be a tight match and under 2.5 goals is favoured at 1.77, so the chances are this will be a low-scoring match, with 1-0 to either side being the most likely result. There is a decent chance that the match will go into extra time too and perhaps even end on penalties. Hopefully this second of three finals will be an entertaining and interesting affair for the neutrals as well as Greek or Italian fans.

Odds might have changed since the writing and publication of this article.

Last updated: 29.05.2024

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