Scout report: What can we expect from Burnley's Europa League opponents Olympiacos?

It's hard to know exactly what to expect from record-holding Greek Super League side Olympiakos ahead of Burnley's quest to make the Europa League group stages.

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 1:45 am
Burnley boss Sean Dyche faces an Olympiakos side that has undergone considerable change

The Clarets have arrived in Athens ahead of their play-off against the 44-time Greek champions at the Karaiskakis Stadium on Thursday evening, the first leg of their third and final qualifying tie.

But despite their decorated history, and their rich status on the continent, Burnley's opponents are somewhat of an unknown quantity after undergoing major surgery. Since winning their domestic title for an impressive seventh time in succession, and going up against La Liga giants Barcelona and Serie A supremos Juventus in last season's Champions League, it's been all change for Thrylos.

Countless cosmetic alterations were made to the playing squad ahead of and during the 2017/18 campaign, a turbulent term which culminated in Olympiacos president Evangelos Marinakis reportedly fining the team €400,000 (£350,000) and ordering its under-performing players to go on holiday.

With Panagiotis Lemonis's tenure brought to an end in January, and Oscar Garcia's reign suffering a similar conclusion last month, it was time for Pedro Martins to come in to try and steady the ship, sail the club to calmer waters and bring back the glory days.

A total of 19 players have already been moved on to pastures new in the summer but they've acquired the services of prolific midfielder Lazaros Christodoulopoulos from rivals AEK Athens, who knocked Celtic out of the Champions League recently.

The 31-year-old scored 14 times for his previous employers last season and dismantled Swiss side FC Lucerne alongside Spanish striker Miguel Ángel Guerrero, formerly of Sporting Gijon and Leganes. The pair scored all seven goals between them in the 7-1 victory in the third qualifying round.

They've been drafted in alongside another 16 players, with five of those named in the XI with the aforementioned pair for their last fixture at the ‎Swissporarena.

They were goalkeeper Andreas Gianniotis, who returned to the club following a spell at Atromitos, former Wolves defender Roderick Miranda, Mohamed Camara, Nottingham Forest midfielder Andreas Bouchalakis and forward Daniel Podence.

Against FC Lucerne on home turf, the Greek giants lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Miranda and Jagos Vukovic at the heart of the defence, flanked by Omar Elabdellaoui on the right hand side and Konstantinos Tsimikas on the left.

Andreas Bouchalakis and Camara were the holding pair in midfield with Podence (left), Kostas Fortounis (central) and Christodoulopoulos (right) posing an attacking threat behind Guerrero.

Incredibly, Fortounis was the only player to survive the club's previous competitive fixture where they lost 3-0 against PAS Giannina in the final game of the season in May.