Olympique Marseille takes on Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final at the Groupama Stadium with Marseille hoping to become the first French side to win the tournament, while the Spanish club looks to win a third Europa crown since 2010.
Atletico Madrid will be without their coach on the touchline as a result of his sending-off in the semi-finals. However, Diego Simeone has sounded a note of warning to his players not to underrate Europa League opponents Marseille in Wednesday’s final.
Los Rojiblancos will be participating in their third European final in five years, Atletico won the Europa League under the guidance of Simone in 2012, then lost the Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016.
Marseille may not boast of a rich European pedigree like that of Atletico in the last decade but they have played fantastic football en route to the final and that fact has not gone unnoticed by Los Rojiblancos coach Diego Simone.
“We’ll be excited, up for it, but also tense. We need to take the game where we want it and do damage where we can.”
“They’ve had a great season, at home and on the continent,”
“We’re two similar sides. They’ve maybe not been together as long as we have but they’re just as enthusiastic and work hard. It’ll be a great final.” he added.
Marseille goes into the final as underdogs but take nothing away from the French side, they have enough quality to take down Atletico on their day. Marseille have the likes of Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin, these are players who can change the cause of a game within a twinkle of an eye.
Payet who is the man that makes things happen for Marseille has scored 10 goals and made 24 assists for the club this season, he said: “We believe we can win against Atletico because this season has shown that we are a real team. We’ve proven that we could overcome some steep challenges”.
“We have the chance to play at home – in our country – with a national fervour.
“Today, of course, Atletico are favourites. They want to win the Champions League and the Europa League, but we will play with our heart,” he concluded.
Brazillian left-back Filipe Luis, who we all thought was recuperating from an injury and had been expected to miss the final, was surprisingly named in Los Rojiblancos’ squad but may likely not start with Lucas Hernandez playing very well in that position in his absence.
Dimitri Payet who missed Marseille’s weekend game against Guingamp with a muscle strain complaint should be fit to start for Marseille. The place of Right-back Bouna Sarr may be taken by the Japanese international Hiroki Sakai if Sarr who has an issue with his shoulder is not able to recover in time for the match.
Marseille Possible Starting Lineup:
Pele; Sarr, Rami, Gustavo, Amavi; Lopez, Sanson; Thauvin, Ocampos, Payet, Germain
Atletico Madrid Possible Starting Lineup:
Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Savic, Luis; Correa, Gabi, Saul, Koke, Costa, Griezmann
- This will be the first meeting between Marseille and Atlético Madrid in European competition since 2008/09 when the Spaniards went unbeaten against them in the Champions League group stage (W1 D1).
- Marseille will compete in their third UEFA Cup/Europa League final in this game, while they’re looking for their first victory following defeats to Parma in 1998/99 and Valencia in 2003/04.
- Les Olympiens are aiming to be the first French team to win a major European competition since 1995/96 when PSG beat SK Rapid Wien in the Cup Winner’s Cup.
- Indeed, this game will see a French and Spanish team face each other in a major European final for the first time since that 2-0 defeat for Marseille against Valencia in 2003/04.
- This will be Diego Simeone’s fourth major European final since taking charge at Atlético in 2011/12 – the Argentine has lost both of his Champions League finals. However, he did win his only previous Europa League final in 2011/12.
- Of the six previous occasions that a Spanish team has reached the Europa League final, only one of them has not gone on to win – however, that came in 2011/12 when Athletic Club were beaten by fellow Spanish side Atlético (0-3).
- A victory for Los Colchoneros in this game would see them equal Sevilla as the team to have won the Europa League on the most occasions (three).
- Since the start of the 2013/14 campaign, Spanish clubs have won seven of the possible eight Champions League and Europa League trophies combined, with Manchester United’s win in this competition last season being the only exception.
- Marseille have won just four of their 15 games against Spanish teams in European competition (D3 L8) – half of those victories have come in the last two games, however, beating Athletic Club in both legs of the Last 16 this season.
Marseille was the inaugural winner of the UEFA Champions League in 1993, but that success came well over a decade ago. Recently they have gotten little or no European success to their credit. However, this current Les Phoceens squad carries a huge threat when going forward, several times this season the French club have proven to be quite a handful to the opposition when on the offensive with the likes of Payet and Thauvin leading the way.
Atletico Madrid are seasoned campaigners on the continent, Los Rojiblancos have crucial experience in both Champions League and Europa League finals, they came into this competition having won it twice already.
Diego Simeone will be missing on the touchline for Atletico, but his absence may not count for much going by the kind of quality and experience in this current Los Rojiblancos squad. This is the final and we expect both defences to be at the top of their game. This should be an entertaining and at the same time very tight match, our prediction is a 1-0 win in favour of Atletico madrid.