Trip to Albania in store for Olympiakos in the Europa League

Olympiakos will not have to travel far for its first Europa League expedition next month, as the draw for the soccer competition’s second qualifying round has lined the Reds up against Albanian side Besa. The two sides will meet on July 15 and 22, first in Albania and then in Greece. The Albanian team, which has yet to register a win in European competitions after 12 attempts, is based in the western town of Kavaje. The match represents little more than a mere warmup for the Greek side ahead of the more demanding matches it will play in the competition in August, in a bid to reach the group stage of the Europa League. Olympiakos had its first training session of the season under the guidance of new manager Ewald Lienen, although it is far from certain that the German will stay at the club for long. New Olympiakos major shareholder Vangelis Marinakis is reportedly trying to secure a major name from Europe to manage the team. The pretext for a managerial change so early in the season could be in the club’s rejection of Lienen’s proposed assistant coach, Abder Ramdane, who follows Lienen everywhere. Olympiakos has instead opted for its former coach Bozidar Bandovic as Lienen’s assistant.