Big Match Focus: Marseille v Atletico

Olympique Marseille and Atletico Madrid will battle it out for the UEFA Europa League silverware on Wednesday night when they clash in the final in Lyon.

UEFA Europa League
Date: 16 May 2018
Final
Kick-off: 20H45 local time
Venue: Groupama Stadium
Referee: B. Kuipers
Assistants: S. van Roekel, E. Zeinstra
Fourth official: S. Marciniak

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

Marseille 2 0 1 1
Atletico 2 1 1 0

Previous encounter:

Marseille 0-0 Atletico 09/12/08 (Champions League)

Players to watch:

Winger Florian Thauvin has been immense for OM this campaign, scoring 26 goals and producing 18 assists in all competitions. The 25-year-old has also enjoyed good form at the right time. The former Newcastle man scored a brace in the recent 3-3 draw with Guingamp in Ligue 1.

Atletico’s key man for the clash may well be striker Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman has been a crucial figure for the club since signing in 2014 and has scored 27 goals and provided 15 assists in all competitions this season, including four goals and four assists in the Europa League.

Team form and manager quotes:

Marseille have not been at their best in recent weeks and will need to rediscover the form that helped them progress all the way to the final. In their last four games across all competitions, they only won against OGC Nice, while losing at RB Salzburg and drawing with SCO Angers and most recently Guingamp.

This will be the Ligue 1 club’s first appearance in the Europa League final. Their previous best finish was when they were knocked out in the last-16 stage by Benfica in the 2009/10 season.

“We have a pretty small chance of winning but we are going to give it our all. Playing Atlético is a big event for us,” Marseille manager Rudi Garcia told the press.

“This is a club who have played two Champions League finals in the past four years, a club that won the Europa League not long ago. But a final at home in France is a fantastic opportunity. No French side have ever won this trophy; it would be fantastic if we could be the first.”

Meanwhile, Atletico have regularly featured in the Europa League final. The Spanish outfit won the competition in 2010 and 2012, when they beat Fulham and Athletic Bilbao respectively.

The Rojiblancos have been more consistent than OM in their recent fixtures. They have won three of their last four games in all competitions. They beat Alaves, Arsenal, and most recently Getafe, all by a 1-0 scoreline, while suffering a 2-0 defeat at home against Espanyol.

Manager Diego Simeone told the press before the game: “Everything is set up for a great final. [Marseille have] been improving and they have a coach who has so many options at his disposal and a lot of nous.

“They’re very dangerous, particularly in midfield and attack. It’ll certainly be a tough game. As soon as we got knocked out of the Champions League, we immediately embraced this competition.

“Being widely billed as contenders to reach the final heightened our sense of duty and responsibility. And here we are.”

— Olympique Marseille (@OM_English) May 15, 2018

Team news:

OM have doubts over the fitness of Rolando, Bouna Sarr, Konstantinos Mitroglou, and Dimitri Payet.

Atleti should have a full complement of players to choose from, after Filipe Luis’s speedy recovery from injury.

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