OLYMPIAKOS - ANORTHOSIS FAMAGUSTA
Lightening doesn't strike twice, except it did ! Anorthosis repeated their 3-0 win over Rapid, with an identical scoreline against Olympiakos. The greek side were unfortunate to lose by three and have not given up on the tie yet, they can name a much stronger starting eleven this evening and will take heart from Rapid's performance in the second leg, when the austrians almost turned things around, despite conceding early. The Cypriot side are looking for a place in history as the first team from that nation to make the group stage and they have done incredibly well to come this close, regardless of what happens today. However, they are a very different club on the road and if Olympiakos keep calm, a first half lead will make this very interesting indeed. No doubt the visitors will keep ten men behind the ball and look to pinch a goal on the break. Olympiakos will win this and I see little downside even giving up such a huge handicap and I have to side with them. If/when th e second goal comes, Anor could get very nervous and the host's greater experience will be vital.
6.5 points Olympiakos -2 goals 2.0 asian line.
SLAVIA PRAGUE - FIORENTINA
Clear class difference between these two, but Fiorentina already hold a two goal lead from the first leg, will be without star player Adrian Mutu and have a Serie A opener, against their biggets rivals Juventus, at the weekend. We saw with Barce and Juve yesterday, that the big clubs are happy just to coast in the second leg, especially with domestic openers ahead and I suspect that Fiorentina will adopt a similar attitude and be happy to settle for a draw. Slavia showed little in the first game, but will offer more offensively in front of their own fans and will also be boosted by a fine 5-0 win over rivals Bohemians at the weekend.
6 points Slavia +1/4 ball 1.82 asian line.
ATLETICO MADRID - SCHALKE
Schalke had much the better of the first leg and will be very pleased with the lead and clean sheet that they take to Spain. Having said that, Atletico improved after the break and will be stronger tonight, having two extra weeks training under their belt, they will also have the considerable boost of Sergio Aguero back in the squad, he forms a fantastic partnership with Diego Forlan upfront and they can unlock any defence. I am pleased to see that Maniche has shown a return to form in pre season and he might also be given an outing, his creativity could be key in breaking down, what is sure to be a packed visiting defence. Schalke have problems, Neuer, Jones, Kristajic and Engelaar are all out, Farfan is doubtful. A packed Vicente Calderon is not the easiest place to go and it is time for Atletico to return to the big stage.
6 points Atletico -3/4 ball 2.08 asian line.