Olympiacos vs Aston Villa: Possible lineups, team news, and prediction

Aston Villa
Aston Villa / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Aston Villa is preparing for a monumental challenge as they travel to Piraeus for the decisive second leg of their Europa Conference League semi-final against Olympiacos.

After suffering a 4-2 defeat at Villa Park, the English side must overturn a two-goal deficit at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium. This clash will test not only their tactical prowess but also their resilience and determination.

Olympiacos, energised by their first-leg victory, is on the brink of making history. A win would bring them closer to becoming only the second Greek team to reach a major UEFA competition final.

Ayoub El Kaabi
Ayoub El Kaabi / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Their journey to this stage has been marked by impressive victories over Maccabi Tel Aviv and Fenerbahce. Ayoub El Kaabi, whose hat-trick in the first leg has made him a key player for the Greek side, will be the centre of attention.

Aston Villa, meanwhile, faces a daunting task. The Premier League team must secure at least a three-goal margin victory to advance. Their recent form, especially in away games, does not bode well for this Herculean effort. However, the team's resilience and ability to bounce back from defeats this season provide a glimmer of hope.

Olympiacos vs Aston Villa: Predicted lineups

Olympiacos is expected to field a strong lineup despite missing some key players:
Goalkeeper: Tzolakis
Defenders: Rodinei, Ndoj, Retsos, Ortega
Midfielders: Iborra, Hezze, Chiquinho
Forwards: Masouras, Podence, El Kaabi

Aston Villa has several injury concerns but will look to field a competitive lineup:
Goalkeeper: Martinez
Defenders: Konsa, Torres, Carlos, Digne
Midfielders: Cash, Luiz, McGinn, Bailey
Forwards: Duran, Watkins

Team news

Olympiacos will be without Ruben Vezo, Gelson Martins, and Nelson Abbey due to ineligibility, and Stevan Jovetic remains sidelined with an injury. However, the return of Ndoj and Masouras from suspension bolsters their squad.

Aston Villa's injury list includes Boubacar Kamara, Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendia, and Jacob Ramsey. The fitness of Rogers, Tielemans, Zaniolo, and Martinez will be assessed ahead of the match.

Key players

Ollie Watkins
Ollie Watkins / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

For Olympiacos, Ayoub El Kaabi is the man of the moment. His goal-scoring prowess has been vital for the Greek side, and his performance could be decisive in securing their place in the final.

Aston Villa will rely heavily on Ollie Watkins, whose ability to find the back of the net will be crucial as Villa seeks to mount a historic comeback. The potential contributions of Leon Bailey and Jhon Duran, depending on the final lineup, will also be key to Villa's attacking strategy.

Manager Unai Emery faces a tactical dilemma with Moussa Diaby, who has been underperforming recently. Benching Diaby could serve as a motivational tactic, potentially unleashing him against a tiring Greek defence later in the game.

As the match approaches, the stakes could not be higher. Olympiacos aims to continue their dream run, while Aston Villa faces a test of character and skill. The strategies, team selections, and performances of key players will undoubtedly shape the outcome of this pivotal European clash.

Villa's resilience in bouncing back from defeats, as demonstrated throughout the season, will be crucial in this high-pressure scenario.