Oct 18, 2017

Barcelona return to Champions League action on Wednesday night, with Greek outfit Olympiakos the visitors to Camp Nou.

The Catalan giants have been handed a tricky draw but Ernesto Valverde’s men have taken control of Group D with consecutive wins over Juventus and Sporting Lisbon. Olympiakos have lost both of their first two games in the competition this year and as such Barcelona are overwhelming favourites to record victory on Wednesday - punters using their Sportingbet Promotional Code 2018 can get odds of 1/11.

After finishing 2016-17 with just Copa del Rey success, while fierce rivals Real Madrid recorded the double, the Blaugrana are clearly motivated to challenge for major silverware this season.
This has been reflected by Barcelona’s domestic form, with Valverde leading the Catalan club to the top of La Liga, with a four-point lead ahead of second-placed Valencia after eight games.

Barca dropped their first points of the campaign at the weekend, with a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid robbing the new head coach of his perfect record. However, there is a collective feeling that the Catalan giants are back to close to their best and will be in the running for La Liga and Champions League success in 2017-18. As always, much depends on Lionel Messi – even more so this season after the summer sale of Neymar and subsequent injury to replacement Ousmane Dembele. The Argentine attacker has been in sparkling form in front of goal so far, netting 11 La Liga strikes already while also contributing two assists and two Champions League goals.

Messi will again pose Barcelona’s biggest threat in the clash with Olympiakos and this is reflected in the bookmakers’ odds, with the mercurial maestro paying 7/4 to score the first goal. One of the major improvements at Camp Nou since Valverde’s appointment has been the club’s defence, with silly mistakes being stamped out and the Blaugrana being harder to break down. As such, Barcelona are yet to concede in the Champions League this season and their resistance has only been breached three times in eight league matches, with no team scoring more than once.

The Blaugrana trainer will hope to continue this excellent defensive record against Olympiakos and the bookmakers favour it happening at odds of 7/10 for the hosts to keep a clean sheet. With back-to-back fixtures against the Greeks to play, Barcelona will hope to have qualification for the next stage wrapped up before the tricky trip to Turin next month.

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