Olympiakos will meet French side Girondins de Bordeaux in the first knockout round of the Champions League after the draw was made on Friday in Nyon, Switzerland.
Bordeaux, like all the group winners, will be at home in the second leg of their tie as the business end of the Champions League beckons.
Olympiakos coach Zico has been generous in his praise for his side’s opponent.
The Brazilian tactician has played down his side’s chances of progressing against a team he believes were one of the outstanding revelations of the previous round.
“Bordeaux were one of the most impressive teams in the group stage,” he said. “They finished ahead of Bayern and Juventus.
“They have several players in the French national team, two Brazilian players I know well and a coach who is doing an excellent job. They are a balanced and organised team, but our task will be just as tough as with any of the other seven opponents we could have drawn.
“I believe we will see two high-quality matches and, as both teams have reached this stage of the competition, they have an equal chance to get through.”
While Zico was busy building up les Girondins, French midfielder Alou Diarra did likewise to the Greeks.
“We must now approach Olympiakos seriously,” the French club’s captain stated. “We can be satisfied with that draw. We could have drawn a bigger name, but keep in mind that Olympiakos are among the ever-present sides in the Champions League. They must feel they have also avoided the big fish.”
UEFA Champions League holders FC Barcelona will take on VfB Stuttgart as they continue their bid to become the first team in the UEFA Champions League era to lift the trophy two years running.
Real Madrid CF, aiming to play in the 22 May final at their own Santiago Bernabeu home, have been drawn with Karim Benzema’s former club Olympique Lyonnais.
Arguably the highlight of the round sees Jose Mourinho return to Chelsea when his Internazionale Milano team take on the club now coached by former AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The Rossoneri also have English opposition in the shape of Manchester United FC, who they beat in the 2006/07 semi-finals on their way to winning the trophy.
For the first time this year, the fixtures in the last 16 will be held over four weeks with half the ties on 16/17 February and 9/10 March and the others on 23/24 February and 16/17 March.
Europa League Draw
Greece’s sole remaining participant in the Europa League watched the draw with nervous glances after the greens were drawn against Italian side Roma.
And while Hertha BSC Berlin captain Arne Friedrich, for one, admitted he would have liked to meet Juventus in the UEFA Europa League round of 32, the pleasure fell to AFC Ajax.
Italy coach Marcello Lippi believes Juventus and Roma should be wary of their opponents, Ajax and Panathinaikos in the Europa League.
The draw has pitted the Italians against two European sides with plenty of history and Lippi believes Juventus will be pleased to have drawn a tough opponent after exiting the Champions League in the group stage.
“Juve-Ajax is a great game and they will be consoled a bit after going out of the Champions League,” he reported.
“As for Roma, they should not think that Panathinaikos is not as strong as some of the other teams.”