Olympiakos finished the regular season ahead of the playoffs unbeaten, with a superb record of 20 wins and six draws in 26 matches. Their success is largely based on two veteran players who were rather unexpectedly signed on a free transfer in the summer.
Thirty-three-year-old French-Moroccan striker Youssef El-Arabi arrived after scoring at will and earning a fortune in Qatar – and netted 17 goals. Two-year older Mathieu Valbuena's contribution was arguably even more significant.
The little French midfield maestro, whose rather unusual career route took him to Dinamo Moscow and Fenerbahce, had two difficult years in Istanbul, with many pundits considering him to be a spent force. Such a prognosis turned out to be totally wrong, as Valbuena took the Greek league by storm with some delightful performances.
Olympiakos lost their top playmaker Kostas Fortounis to a cruciate ligament injury in the summer, and the Frenchman replaced him brilliantly, leading the league assist chart with 10.