Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Olympiacos result: Five things we learned as Wolves progress in Europa League

Karl Matchett
·4-min read
Raul Jimenez calmly puts Wolves in front from the spot: Getty
Raul Jimenez calmly puts Wolves in front from the spot: Getty

Wolverhampton Wanderers still haven’t finished their year-long season and they’ll be aiming for silverware after progressing past Olympiacos in the Europa League.

Just a few minutes were on the clock when Daniel Podence won a penalty, which Raul Jimenez dispatched.

The Greek side had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside by the VAR and went close with shots from range, but Wolves held out for the vital clean sheet.

A 1-0 win on the night meant a 2-1 aggregate victory for Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side and they now head to Germany for the rest of their stay in the competition.

Here are five things we learned from the game at Molineux on Thursday night.

Tale of two keepers

It was a close-fought match overall, with Wolves producing a determined, but defensive, display once they had taken the lead.

The shot count was marginally in the Greek side’s favour by full time, 12 to 16 and four to five on target, and in the end perhaps the difference was the goalkeeper at either end.

Bobby Allain, making his debut in European competition, looked nervous, didn’t deal well with simply balls and ultimately cost his team the only goal of the match.

At the other end Rui Patricio was solid, composed and made two excellent saves, one from Kostas Tsimikas and another from Youssef El-Arabi.

International class goalkeeping saw Wolves through this one.

Podence back to haunt former side

Daniel Podence is improving for Wolves (Getty Images)
Daniel Podence is improving for Wolves (Getty Images)

Daniel Podence joined Wolves in January for £16.6m—from Olympiacos.

His chances have been few and far between in his first half-season in England, with the 24-year-old mostly featuring as sub, but he has just begun to show his worth in recent weeks in the Premier League.

Here he was given the start against his former club and quickly set about irritating his old team-mates, winning the penalty after good work rate and anticipation, beating Allain to his own poor first touch to win the penalty.

Later he showed his dribbling skills and movement between the lines as a counter-attacking outlet and generally had a good game—though he was booked on his way off the pitch after being subbed.

That looks to be costly, as he was carded twice in the Champions League for Olympiacos before his move—so he’ll now be suspended for the quarter-final.

Reds’ eye on Tsimikas

Of all the Olympiacos players, the one which maybe most Premier League fans might have been keen to see based on recent news was left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas.

The 24-year-old has been linked with Liverpool, one of four the Reds are considering—and since they’ve had a bid rejected today for one of the others, it makes sense that they would have had an extra eye on proceedings here.

At Molineux, Tsimikas showed a few of the traits which have no doubt highlighted his worth as an Andy Robertson understudy: driving runs down the flank from deep, crosses from deep, quick exchanges of passes to get behind the defence and a determined sprint into the penalty box which saw him fire a fierce half-volley at goal.

There were other similarities with Robertson, too, including a less-hoped-for one: he struggled against the pace and power of Adama Traore, picked up a yellow card and once or twice didn’t track his man running across the face of goal.

All or nothing in Europe

Raul Jimenez on the ball (Getty)
Raul Jimenez on the ball (Getty)

Having been pipped to sixth-place in the Premier League by Tottenham, Wolves were left hoping for a Chelsea FA Cup win.

That would have meant seventh qualified for the Europa League again—but Arsenal’s victory at Wembley gave them the final place instead.

As a result, Wolves have no European football to look forward to in 2020/21...unless, of course, they win the Europa League outright and qualify for the Champions League, instead.

It’s a full-on, make or break, twist-don’t-stick scenario for the Molineux side, who may as well go as full-tilt as possible for silverware, glory and a shot at the really big time next term.

One job is done, three more matches remain—Wolves have to win them all, or the European adventure is over for at least a year.

Knock-out stages beckon

The quarter-finals and beyond in both Champions and Europa League will be played in a quickfire knock-out format: one game, go through or go home each time.

For Wolves now it’s off to Germany, where they will face Sevilla after the Spanish side saw off Roma earlier in the day.

Should Nuno’s side get past that challenge, it’s a semi-final against Manchester United or Copenhagen—another big obstacle if it should prove to be their Premier League rivals.

Their season started on 25 July...last year. Well over 12 months later, the adventure still isn’t over.