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Tough task ahead of Olympiakos in Europe

Yesterday’s draw for the Round of 16 in the Champions League was not too kind to Olympiakos, as it paired the Greek champions with English Cup winners Chelsea. Olympiakos will host the mighty club of stars, such as Didier Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard, on February 19 at the Karaiskaki Stadium in Piraeus and travel to London for the return leg on March 5 to play at Stamford Bridge. «At this stage of the competition, there are no easy opponents. Chelsea has great individual talent but it focuses more on working as a team,» Olympiakos manager Takis Lemonis told UEFA’s website. «We are the outsiders, but we will try to enjoy the games and be relaxed. We do not have any pressure,» said Olympiakos and Greece goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis on Greek radio. Chelsea coach Avram Grant refuted the suggestion it was one of easiest draws available. «Werder Bremen and Lazio may have thought like this and Werder lost home and away against Olympiakos and Lazio lost at home,» the Israeli stated. «I saw them when they played against Real Madrid; they are a very good team and we know [Olympiakos striker Lomana] LuaLua is a very good player. All the teams that we could have played were about the same level.» On its previous visits to England, Olympiakos suffered seven defeats in as many games. Chelsea’s history in Greece is somewhat different: «Chelsea landed its first European title [the Cup Winners’ Cup] at the Karaiskaki Stadium in 1971,» said Olympiakos CEO Petros Kokkalis. «I hope things are different this time, though. For us this is one of the most important matches in Olympiakos’s history, but since this is two months away, we cannot speak yet,» he added. AEK, PAO pleased The UEFA Cup draw also took place yesterday, pitting Panathinaikos against Glasgow Rangers and AEK against Getafe of Spain. In the first leg of the knockout phase of the last 32, Panathinaikos will play at Ibrox and AEK will host Getafe in Athens on February 13 or 14, while the return fixture is set for February 21. Panathinaikos finished second in their group after losing to Atletico in Madrid 2-1 on Thursday. Chairman Argyris Mitsou stated that «such games are decided on details,» and skipper Giorgos Karagounis added that «Rangers always play in front of capacity crowds at home and are dangerous away from home.» AEK lost 2-1 at home to Villarreal on Thursday but still advanced. Coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer said: «Getafe is a very good team with excellent technique and many virtues. It will not be easy for us.»