Follow Playmaker on Facebook
      Olympiakos face Fiorentina in Athens

      UECL Final Preview

      2024/05/28 20:53

      The UEFA Europa League final took place last week with Atalanta producing a shock to end Bayer Leverkusen’s hunt for an unbeaten treble by battering the German champions by three goals to nil and delivering a trophy to Bergamo for the first time in over 60 years.

      The ‘big one’ takes place on Saturday evening at Wembley Stadium in London when Borussia Dortmund face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League but before then we have the third ever UEFA Europa Conference League final this week.
      On Wednesday evening, Olympiakos will face Fiorentina at the Agia Sophia Stadium in Athens, the home of Greek giants AEK Athens, for a shot at European silverware.

      So, without further ado, this is a round-up and summary of the state of play for the two sides and what to expect for the showpiece occasion in the Greek capital…


      Manager: Jose Luis Mendilibar (ESP)

      Domestic season: 3rd in the Super League

      @Getty /

      Summary: The first-half of this season was extremely underwhelming and almost worrying for Olympiakos as they languished outside of the top four for much of it in the Greek Super League and were knocked out in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League. However, ever since the appointment of the 2023 UEFA Europa League winning coach Jose Luis Mendilibar in January, the Piraeus giants have been much-improved and have pulled off some excellent performances en route to this final.

      For example, their two-legged 6-2 defeat of Aston Villa in the semi-finals of this competition matched a defensive rigidity and organisation with precise and intense, genuinely exhilarating attacking led by this season’s UEFA Europa Conference League top scorer, Ayoub El Kaabi, with the Moroccan notching five goals in that tie and currently on ten for the season, despite Olympiakos only entering the competition at the knockout playoff stage.

      There is experience throughout the core of their side, such as Vicente Iborra and Kostas Fortounis, with some recognisable faces to Premier League and Championship watchers as Joao Carvalho and Daniel Podence aim to provide the aforementioned El Kaabi with the ammunition. 

      Run to Athens:

      UEL 3Q L1 | 1-0 W vs Genk (H)
      UEL 3Q L2 | 1-1 D vs Genk (A)
      UEL PO L1 | 3-1 W vs Cukaricki (H)
      UEL PO L2 | 3-0 W vs Cukaricki (A)
      UEL G | 2-3 L vs Freiburg (H)
      UEL G | 2-2 D vs Backa Topola (A)
      UEL G | 2-1 W vs West Ham United (H)
      UEL G | 0-1 L vs West Ham United (A)
      UEL G | 0-5 L vs Freiburg (A)
      UEL G | 5-2 W vs Backa Topola (H)
      UECL KO PO L1 | 1-0 W vs Ferencvaros (H)
      UECL KO PO L2 | 1-0 W vs Ferencvaros (A)
      UECL R16 L1 | 1-4 L vs Maccabi Tel-Aviv (H)
      UECL R16 L2 | 4-1 W [6-1 AET] vs Maccabi Tel-Aviv (A)
      UECL QF L1 | 3-2 W vs Fenerbahce (H)
      UECL QF L2 | 0-1 L [0-1 AET 3-2 PENS] vs Fenerbahce (A)
      UECL SF L1 | 4-2 W vs Aston Villa (A)
      UECL SF L2 | 2-0 W vs Aston Villa (H)


      Manager: Vincenzo Italiano (ITA)

      Domestic season: 8th in Serie A

      @Getty /

      Summary: Fiorentina are seeking to avoid the heartache of last season. I Viola reached the finals of both the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Europa Conference League last year but lost both of them to Internazionale and West Ham United, respectively. This time around they lost their cup semi to eventual UEFA Europa League winners Atalanta, despite having a first-leg lead in that game, and will be desperate to avoid another European final loss this week.

      Vincenzo Italiano has been heavily linked with the likes of AC Milan and Nottingham Forest, with the latter coincidentally owned by the Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, and the Italian is viewed favourably, albeit there will be a frustration that they haven’t necessarily kicked on in Serie A, settling for an eighth placed finish and UEFA Europa Conference League qualification – which will become UEFA Europa League football if they win this one.

      They have an abundance of attacking talent with the likes of Jonathan Ikone, Mbala Nzola, Gaetano Castrovilli and Antonin Barak all in good form but unlikely to start with Nicolas Gonzalez, Lucas Beltran, Christian Kouame and Andrea Belotti expected to be their exciting front four. 

      Run to Athens:

      UECL PO L1 | 0-1 L vs Rapid Vienna (A)
      UECL PO L2 | 2-0 W vs Rapid Vienna (H)
      UECL G | 2-2 D vs Genk (A)
      UECL G | 2-2 D vs Ferencvaros (H)
      UECL G | 6-0 W vs Cukaricki (H)
      UECL G | 1-0 W vs Cukaricki (A)
      UECL G | 2-1 W vs Genk (H)
      UECL G | 1-1 D vs Ferencvaros (A)
      UECL R16 L1 | 4-3 W vs Maccabi Haifa (A)
      UECL R16 L2 | 1-1 D vs Maccabi Haifa (H)
      UECL QF L1 | 0-0 D vs Viktoria Plzen (A)
      UECL QF L2 | 0-0 D [2-0 AET] vs Viktoria Plzen (H)
      UECL SF L1 | 3-2 W vs Club Brugge (H)
      UECL SF L2 | 1-1 D vs Club Brugge (A)

      Playmaker prediction: Fiorentina to edge a high-scoring thriller

      Olympiakos have some sort of home advantage with the final being played just down the road and at the home of rivals AEK – adding even more incentive to win a European trophy on their soil. Olympiakos are just the second Greek team in football history to reach a European final after Panathinaikos lost to Ajax in the European Cup final at Wembley Stadium in 1971. They will likely force an entertaining and high-scoring encounter but, surely, Fiorentina will have the edge with their big league experience and seeking to avenge the heartache of last season’s loss to West Ham in Tirana. 


      Would you like to comment? Just register!!
      2024-05-28 23h05m by eedwards
      Wow, what a week it's been in European football! Atalanta's shocking victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League final was a real treat for us fans. And now we have the UEFA Europa Conference League final to look forward to before the big one on Saturday. Olympiakos vs Fiorentina, I can't wait!
      2024-05-28 22h27m by sjacksons_9_2_1
      Wow, what a surprise from Atalanta! As a football fan, I love seeing underdogs come out on top. But with the UCL final coming up, I can't help but feel a bit worried for Dortmund. Real Madrid is a tough opponent. Still, let's not forget about the Europa Conference League final on Wednesday - Olympiakos vs Fiorentina should be a thrilling match. Excited to see who will lift the trophy!
      2024-05-28 22h03m by l_10_brownfield
      As a football fan, I can't believe Atalanta's stunning win against Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League final! Such enthusiasm and passion from the team! Can't wait for the big one between Dortmund and Real Madrid on Saturday. But first, let's see if Olympiakos or Fiorentina can claim the UEFA Europa Conference League trophy. Exciting times for European football!
      2024-05-28 21h32m by lhalliday_bart
      Wow, what a game! Atalanta really showed up and took down Leverkusen with ease. Congrats to Bergamo for their first trophy in 60 years! But the excitement doesn't stop there, we have another final this week with Olympiakos and Fiorentina battling it out for European glory. Can't wait to see who comes out on top!


      banderson1976 20-06-2024, 00:10
      nlawson12 20-06-2024, 00:00
      gkingsley 19-06-2024, 23:40
      hturnerford 19-06-2024, 23:34
      sjacksons_9_2_1 19-06-2024, 23:06
      lhalliday_bart 19-06-2024, 21:33
      nlawson12 19-06-2024, 21:24
      banderson1976 19-06-2024, 21:17
      a_12_shawcross 19-06-2024, 20:40
      eyoungs8 19-06-2024, 20:38
      nlawson12 19-06-2024, 20:24
      jgibsonson 19-06-2024, 20:06
      dnelsons 19-06-2024, 19:48
      awalkerson7 19-06-2024, 19:43
      sparkerfield 19-06-2024, 19:41
      omitchellsonjones 19-06-2024, 19:24