BLACKBURN Rovers were buried under an avalanche of goals as Olympiakos served up a football masterclass here in the Alpine resort of Garmisch Partenkirchen.

The Greek champions, inspired by their brilliant Brazilian, Rivaldo, sent Rovers crashing to their heaviest defeat during Mark Hughes' reign as manager.

And the margin of defeat might have been greater but for Brad Friedel, who pulled off a string of impressive saves to keep the Champions League club at bay.

Olympiakos were quite simply irresistible going forward, cutting Rovers' makeshift defence to shreds at will, with Rivaldo and the equally impressive Predag Djordjevic the destroyers-in-chief.

In fairness, this was the Greeks' fifth pre-season game, compared to Rovers' third, and their superior fitness and sharpness told as they dominated the vast majority of this contest, stroking the ball around with consummate ease at times.

Employing a fluid 4-3-3 formation, Olympiakos caused Rovers all kinds of problems in the final third, yet Hughes later insisted he was not too perturbed by his team's overall performance, claiming it was still a more than useful exercise.

"They were a good side and we actually learned quite a lot tonight, so it was a good exercise from that point of view," said the Rovers boss.

After basking in temperatures approaching 100 degrees for most of the week, Rovers were brought back down to earth with a bang here as a torrential thunderstorm half an hour before kick-off made this German skiing resort feel more like East Lancashire on a cold Tuesday night in November.

On top of that, an argument over a clash of kits before kick-off and a bizarre injury to Peter Enckelman during the warm-up, which prevented the Finn from making a rare appearance in goal, must have left Hughes wishing he had stayed at Brockhall.

Nevertheless, Rovers made a lively start as Steven Reid set-up an early shooting chance for Francis Jeffers, who was given another chance to impress alongside Shefki Kuqi up front.

Rivaldo then provided a glimpse of his samba skills with a dipping free kick that Friedel did well to shovel around his right-hand post.

Chances continued to come and go for both sides in an entertaining first half as Ioannis Okkas fired over for the Greeks, then Sergio Peter cracked a fierce half volley into the side-netting following clever prompting down the right from the marauding Didier Agathe.

When the first goal finally arrived in the 19th minute it was almost as spectacular as the mountainous scenery.

Spotting Friedel marginally off his line, Pantelis Kafes took aim from fully 25 yards out and promptly delivered the perfect chip, the ball nestling in the far top corner with radar-like precision.

Olympiakos dominated after that as Friedel saved from Rivaldo, then Djordjevic and the lively Okkas both shot wide from inviting positions.

Eventually, the pressure told and the Greeks fashioned a well-worked second on 31 minutes, Okkas sneaking in on the blind side of Michael Gray to supply a pin-point cross for Djordjevic to head powerfully home.

Hughes, who looked distinctly unimpressed on the sidelines, made five changes at the start of the second half, but that failed to stop the rot, Okkas adding a brilliant third on 50 minutes with an acrobatic scissors kick.

Worse was to come for Rovers as Michalis Konstadinou then made it four on 63 minutes, the striker heading home from close range following Kafes' mis-hit shot.

And substitute Ioannis Taralidis grabbed a fifth with another sumptuous chip seven minutes from time to compound a disappointing night for Rovers.

Rovers: Friedel; Agathe, Khizanishvili, Matteo, Gray; Reid, Mokoena, Savage, Peter; Kuqi, Jeffers. Subs: McEveley (for Gray, 46), Todd (for Matteo, 46), Douglas (for Savage, 46), Bentley (for Mokoena, 46), Pedersen (for Peter, 46), Roberts (for Kuqi, 63), Derbyshire (for Jeffers, 63), Gallagher (for Bentley, 66), Tugay (for Agathe, 66) Olympiakos (starting XI): Nikopolidis; Zewlakof, Ouadou, Anatolakis, Bulut; Stoltidis; Rivaldo, Kafes; Djordjevic, Okkas; Konstadinou.