Tag Archives: Europa League

Europa League & Internationals

Europa League

Europa League Consequences

Having finished 4th in the ligue, OM will qualify for the Europa League having missed out on Champions League football by 2 points. But all is not confirmed yet, OM need psg to beat Auxerre in the Coupe de France on Saturday in order to qualify directly for the group stages. If Auxerre were to beat psg, thus denying them a domestic treble, OM would have to play 2 preliminary rounds in July and August in order to qualify for the group stage.

Important dates:

Preliminary Round 1, Game 1: 30th July

Preliminary Round 1, Game 2: 6th August

Ligue 1, Game 1: 7th August* (OM play 9th August)

Preliminary Round 2, Game 1: 20th August

Ligue 1, Game 3: 21st August* (OM play 23rd August)

Preliminary Round 2, Game 2: 27th August

Ligue 1, Game 4: 28th August* (OM play 30th August)

Europa League Group Game 1: 17th September

Ligue 1, Game 6: 18th September*( OM play 20th September)

Europa League Group Game 2: 1st October

Ligue 1, Game 9: 2nd October* (OM play 4th October)

Europa League Group Game 3: 22nd October

Ligue 1, Game 11: 23rd October* (OM play 25th October)

Europa League Group Game 4: 5th November

Ligue 1, Game 13: 6th November* (OM play 8th November)

Europa League Group Game 5: 26th November

Ligue 1, Game 15: 27th November* (OM play 29th November)

Europa League Group Game 6: 10th December

Ligue 1, Game 18: 11th December* (OM play 13th December)

**(Ligue 1 game dates in brackets are the Sunday’s that OM would play if still in Europa League)

Summer Hasn’t Started For OM Internationals

A number of OM’s stars and fringe players are participating in post-season tournaments.

Wed 27th May

Stephane Sparagna – France 3-1 USA – Toulon Tournament

Fri 29th May

Stephane Sparagna – Qatar v France – Toulon Tournament

Sat 30th May

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v Ukraine – U20 World Cup

Mon 1st June

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v Nigeria – U20 World Cup

Tue 2nd June

Staphane Sparagna – France v Costa Rica – Toulon Tournament

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v USA – U20 World Cup

Thur 4th June

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v Hungary – U20 World Cup

Stephane Sparagna – France v Netherlands – Toulon Tournamet

Fri 5th June

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v Burma – U20 World Cup

Sat 6th June

Nicolas Nkoulou – Cameroon v Burkina Faso – Friendly

Sunday 7th June

Steve Mandanda & Dimitri Payet – France v Belgium – Friendly

Alayxis Romao – Ghana v Togo  – Friendly

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v North Korea – U20 World Cup

Tue 9th June

Nicola Nkoulou – Cameroon v DR Congo – Friendly

Thur 11th June

Bejamin Mendy & Baptiste Aloe – France U21 v South Korea U21 – Friendly

Sat 13th June

Steve Mandanda & Dimitri Payet – Albania v France – Friendly

Alexander Ndoumbou – Gabon v Ivory Coast – CAN 2017 Qualifier

Gael Andonian – Armenia v Portugal – Euro 2016 Qualifying Round Group 1

Sun 14th June

Nicolas Nkoulou – Cameroon v Mauritania – CAN 2017 Qualifier

Tue 16th June

Benjamin Mendy & Baptiste Aloe – France U21 v Paraguay U21 – Friendly

Europa League – AEL v Marseille – Match Preview

OM v AEL Europa League

Thur 6/12/12

GSP Stadium, Nicosia

Background –

Marseille will play their last game in Europe this season as they take on Cypriot side AEL Limassol on Thursday night. After managing an unbeaten run of 6 games in Europe OM came unstuck in the back to back group games against Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach. The defeat and draw meant OM were unable to better ‘Gladbach’s points tally and the Fenerbahce and head to head result meant OM were out of Europe. Despite being drawn in one  of the toughest Europa League groups, Elie Baup will be disappointed that the squad were unable to emulate last seasons Champions League ¼ final finish.

Marseille –

With along trip north against FC Lorient on Sunday Elie Baup has opted to take a relatively inexperienced squad to Cyprus. With neither team having anything to play for it will offer the fringe and younger players an opportunity of some pitch time, while leaving the senior squad an opportunity to focus on Sunday’s Ligue game and get as many points on the board before the winter break.

The squad that travelled to Cyprus is made up of: Bracigliano, Fabri, Escales, Abdallah, Mendes, N’Diaye, Fanni, Aloé, Andonian, M’Bow, Abdullah, Osei, Azouni, Bangoura, Santiago, Abergel, Jobello, Remy, Raspentino, Omrani.

Although it is difficult to predict which reserve and fringe players will start, it is assumed that Baup will begin with players who have had some pitch time domestically.  That basis gives quite a strong defence and spine with Abdallah, Fanni, Aloe, Mendes, Abdullah, Raspentino and Remy. This should provide enough support for the rest of the 11. Remy will probably use this game as an opportunity  to gain some match fitness, so may be withdrawn later into the second half.

Possible line-up and formation: 4-2-3-1 – Bracigliano – Abdallah, Fanni, Aloe, Mendes – Abdullah, Osei – Raspentino, Jobello, Omrani – Remy

Who are they? –

AEL have continued to do well domestically and currently sit 4th having suffered only one defeat, last Monday against AEL, 1-3. Much like OM, AEL have had a rather disappointing Europa League campaign, their only point so far coming in their opening Group C game against ‘Gladbach, 0-0.

Pambos Christodoulou’ side like to play in a pressing, attacking manner, something they continued to do until the bitter end when these two teams met at the Velodrome. The 5-1 scoreline that day was more than flattering for OM last time and although the win was a fair result would have dented the Cypriot pride.

There is little doubt that AEL would like to restore some pride and give their fans something to cheer from their last European game for the foreseeable future, so OM can expect a tough game.

Predicted result: AEL 3-2 Marseille

Allez l’OM (Swanny @MarseilleUK)


Marseille’s European Adventure Over

Marseille 0-1 Fenerbahce

It took a superb overhead-kick goal to end Marseille’s hopes of any European silverware for this season.

In a game that Marseille had to win, they could not find that elusive goal. It could be said that the goal that knocked OM out of Europe this season was Monchengladbach’s late, late equaliser by Arango two weeks ago, but this goal really knocked the nail into the coffin. It must be said that Irtegun’s over-head kick was superb, but it is bitterly disappointing that OM couldn’t score to give even a hope of qualification for the knock-out round.

Irtegun’s winning goal

Marseille 2-2 Monchengladbach – Europa League Match Report

A late, late equalising goal from Borussia Monchengladbach’s Arango leaved Marseille with a mountain to climb if they are to progress to the knock-out phase of the Europa League.

In a game that OM dominated they managed to go a goal down thanks to some horrific defending by Cheyrou and as Hanke made the most and scored in the 20th minute. Cheyrou was caught in possession in his own area and instead of clearing it, simply kicked it into the ‘Gladbach player who crossed for Hanke to net.

It stayed that way until half time. In the 53rd minute, Marseille won a corner. As Barton was preparing himself to take, hos team-mates were getting themselves into position to try and equalise. However, Barton didn’t need them as he curled his corner straight in to the far post to grab his first goal for Marseille.

Marseille’s 2nd goal came through another individual effort as Jordan Ayew skipped through the heart of the ‘Gladbach defence to unleash a brilliant strike that Ter Stegen had no chance of stopping.

The sucker-punch came in the 93rd minute, as a poor cross found its way to Arango, who standing totally unmarked managed to shoot past Mandanda.

The result means that Marseille must win their final 2 games, and hope that ‘Gladbach don’t win theirs.

Goals & Highlights

Bordeaux v Marseille – Match Preview

Sun 18/11/12 – 20:00 (UK – Live on ESPN)

Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux

Ref. – Lionel Jaffredo

Background –

With 3 minutes remaining against Mediterranean neighbours OGC Nice it looked like Marseille had banished their recent slump in form, when ex-OM man Abriel equalised and the game finished 2-2. Elie Baup directed veiled criticism at the team, citing a lack in concentration the reseason for the defeat and explaining that this was something he thought the team had managed to overcome. As he returns to his successful old stomping ground, Baup will have to make sure that there are no lapses in concentration or Bordeaux will punish les phocéens.

Marseille –

Along with the recent devastation of losing Andre-Pierre Gingac through injury, Loic Remy limped off against Nice after only 20 minutes. Ordinarily this would not be helpful for any team, but factor in the continued suspension of Joey Barton, Jordan Ayew’s ban and Amalfitano’s 2 match ban for his ridiculous bust-up with psg’s Matuidi and it is evident that the OM team really are down to the bare bones. Although the return of ex-Bordeaux man Diawara will be some comfort to Baup, he’s not likely to weigh-in with the kind of goals that APG, Remy, Ayew or Amalfitano can produce. An injury to Bracigliano has also prevented the back up ‘keeper from travelling with the squad.

Full team news to follow.

Who are they? –

Without a doubt one of the most (sursprisingly) consistent teams in Ligue 1 this calendar year have been Bordeaux. A 17 match unbeaten run was only recently halted by Newcastle United in the Europa League, and since then they have faltered only once, a 3-1 reverse at Bastia, and have consequently risen to within 2 points of the Ligue 1 summit. With no investment over the summer months and a number of squad players leaving, there are many similarities between how Bordeaux and Marseille prepared for the season.

The work-ethic of this Bordeaux team is one of their strong points, often seeming to swarm at the opposition when not in possession, and they can attack as a unit with frightening pace. 65% of goals for Bordeaux have come in the second half, this will need to be a time when Marseille are particularly focussed in order to avoid another Nice repeat.

The key player in whatever Bordeaux do is Polish international Ludovic Obraniak. The versatile midfielder has already netted 4 times this season and provided 3 assists. Given time Obraniak will hold onto the ball before setting through accurate passes for Jussie or Gouffran. Close him down and he can turn, dribble or pass his way out of trouble. Possibly the best way to combat Obraniak’s effectiveness will be to crowd the centre of midfield, forcing him out wide  and therefore limiting his central passing opportunities. This will require the cooperation and team work of both central midfielders and the two players playing down either flank, of course whilst doing this they can’t afford to forget about the players they ought to be marking too.

Summary –

Marseille’s last ligue victory at Bordeaux came in 1978, and on paper, despite OM’s high placing, it is difficult to imagine anything but that abysmal run continuing. With Marseille, however, anything is possible. Take the recent away win at Ajaccio for example. A nortoriously difficult place to visit and Marseille had a poor record there, but Baup set the team up to dominate the midfield and the players played with determinism and discipline that resulted in a comfortable 2-0 victory. NUFC, played much the same way against Bordeaux in the Europa League, pushing high up the pitch and leaving a huge gulf between the Bordeaux midfield and attack that led to few chances for the strikers. In the current context this may be OM’s most difficult game of the season and a draw would be seen as a good result.

Predicted score: Bordeaux 2v1 Marseille   

Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)

Bordeaux 2.20

Draw 3.10

Marseille 3.50


Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)


Other Ligue 1 Fixtures

Lorient 2v0 Lille

psg v Rennes

Brest v Bastia

Valenciennes v Montpellier

Evian v Saint-Etienne

Ajaccio v Sochaux

Troyes v Nancy

Lyon v Reims

Nice v Toulouse

Europa League Game 4: Marseille v Monchengladbach – Match Preview

Thur 8/11/12 – 18:00 (UK)

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Ref. – Ivan Kruzliak (SVK)

Background –

After a fairly even 1st match between these two sides, Marseille will be looking for revenge and an opportunity to give themselves a good opportunity to qualify from the Group C in the Europa League on Thursday evening. Both teams will enter this game with a similar set of results; 1 win and 1 loss, with Monchengladbach also managing a draw, whereas OM’s game with Lyon had been postponed. Victory for either side will give the victors 7 points and a 3 point cushion with only 2 group games left, and given that both teams look forward to playing AEL again it seems a win will be enough to almost claim qualification.

Marseille –

Following a run of fairly poor results and more worryingly, poor performances, Elie Baup’s men will be buoyed by the impressive nature of their 2-0 win away at Corsican side AC Ajaccio this past weekend. At a notoriously difficult place to visit, Marseille outmuscled Ajaccio, outplayed them at times, were far more clinical and for a recent change won the tactical battle too. OM were helped by their ‘big guns’ in this game too, Valbuena continued his recent run of superb form setting up a number of chances for team-mates, the pick of which came from an exquisite outside of the foot pass to set up Jordan Ayew’s goal. The Amalfitano of old was also back on the pitch too for OM, getting into dangerous positions and creating chances too. Andre Ayew and Charles Kabore also played particularly well.

Full team news to follow.

Likely starting line-up and formation:

Who are they? –

Without sounding disrespectful, it would be fair to say that a 2-0 victory from game 3 rather flattered ‘Gladbach, as overall the game was fairly even and the goals came from a ‘dubious’ penalty call, and a speculative 25 yard shot. Other than that there was often little to separate the two teams, which for OM will be encouraging given that they did not play to their full potential.

Since playing OM, ‘Gladbach an impressive 3-2 away win at Hannover 96, but will be disappointed with their 0-1 defeat at the hands of Bundesliga new-boys Fortuna Dusseldorf, and would have expected better than a 1-1 home draw against Freiburg.

It is important that OM do not concede early, if at all, during this game as ‘Gladbach will be likely to sit back on this and use set-pieces and counter-attacks sparingly. The good news for OM, is that although they have found this difficult to play against in the past, this was how Ajaccio played for much of the game at the weekend, so they can win games nonetheless.

Summary –

A loss for either team will not guarantee failure to qualify from this group, however, with Fenerbahce already 3 points ahead they are the current favourites to qualify. Of course, it is entirely possible that both OM and ‘Gladbach could beat Fenerbahce to qualify, but AEL could pick up a surprise result too, either away at ‘Gladbach or home to OM.

Predicted score: Marseille 2v1 ‘Gladbach  

Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)

Marseille 1.80

Draw 3.50

‘Gladbach 4.50


Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)


Europa League – Monchengladbach v Marseille – Match Preview

Thur 25/10/12 – 20:05 (UK)

Borussia Park, Monchengladbach

Ref. – Serge Gumienny (Bel.)

Background –

After an international break and a domestic game each the Europa League returns for Marseille and Borussia Monchengladbach on Thursday evening. Both teams have suffered 2 league defeats since their last Group C matches with OM coming unstuck by Valenciennes and Troyes, and Monchengladbach picking up their own embarrassing defeats at the hands of Paderborn and Werder Bremen. The Europa League will probably provide a suitable distraction from this slump in form and with 9 goals scored between them, this could be a thouroughly entertaining match.

Marseille –

The disappointment of losing to newly promoted Troyes on Sunday, was only equalled by the disappointment at the news that in form striker Andre-Pierre Gignac will be missing for a while with a broken foot. Worryingly, the defeat came from a performance that lacked any of the discipline, fortitude or desire the team had demonstrated against psg in the previous league game. A defeat can be taken on the chin, a defeat against a newly promoted team, who only had 2 points so far, who had conceded 19 times, who only had 3 recognised defenders available hurt like hell. With any luck, Elie Baup will have ‘discussed’ this with the team and needless to say he will be looking for a reaction from the team before they face Lyon this weekend.

Although the injury to APG will come as a blow to OM, it shouldn’t impact too greatly in this game, as it was expected that the fit again Loic Remy would start in European games. The squad that travelled to Germany consists of: Mandanda, Bracigliano, Fanni, Abdallah, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Mbow, Kabore, Cheyrou, Barton, Abdulah, Valbuena, Amalfitano, A. Ayew, J. Ayew and Remy.

Some changes to the team will likely include Mendes replacing Morel and Barton replacing Kabore, as had been the case in the 5v1 humping of AEL in the 2nd Europa group game. Elie Baup will be expecting a huge improvement from Amalfitano too. After such a suberb season last time out, and starting well, dominating in games at the start of the season, and being one of the start players away at Fenerbahce, Amalfitano has been a missing link in recent games giving OM very little attacking width. His main contribution so far has been slapping psg’s Matuidi in a half-time scrap.

If Marseille wish to succeed in this game they need to play to their strengths and Monchengladbach’s weaknesses. This season these have shown to be teams attacking down the wings and through-balls. With Remy starting as the lone striker, his natural position allows him to run into the channels ahead of Andre Ayew or Amalfitano, and he can also run onto through-balls from Valbuena. Providing support is available to Remy, this is likely to be Marseille’s best threat on the ‘Gladbach goal.

Likely starting line-up and formation:

Who are they? –

After a string season last year, finishing 4th in the Bundesliga, ‘Gladbach have struggled at the start of this campaign and currently lie 13th after picking up only 2 wins from their first 8 games. Their 2 wins have came against Hoffenheim and Paderborn, 1 of which was a weak team last season, the other newly promoted from the 2nd Bundesliga.

It is important that Marseille don’t take anything for granted against ‘Gladbach though, as they well know that a team can struggle in the league and still perform well in Europa, as they themselves proved last year.

One of the ‘Gladbach’s stars this season has been attacking midfielder Juan Arango. The Venezuelan international has contributed 2 goals and 4 assists for his team this season. Arango is a good player on the ball and can play in team mates, as well as dribble or shoot if chances open up for him. The battle down OM’s right should be interesting as Abdallah has shown he can be a solid tackler, but he also likes to get forwards. Amalfitano can drop back and defend, however, has shown he is a bit of a hot-head and Arango is the type of player who can wind Amalfitano up. It might benefit if the covering in this position is supported by Barton, leaving Amalfitano to sit a little further up the pitch and exploit the space that Arango will leave.

If ‘Gladbach take the lead, it is likely that they will defend well to keep it, instead of pressing on for more. This will really test out the character of the Marseille squad, as there has been few times this season where they have shown they can fight back from a losing position, only managing to pick up draws against Fenerbahce and psg when they had been getting beat.

Summary –

With both teams having a slight dip in form in recent weeks, both managers and sets of fans will be looking for a positive reaction from the players, which will hopefully result in an open attacking game with both teams playing to their attacking strengths, looking to make the most of the oppositions defensive weaknesses. Having drew away to Fenerbahce, Marseille are probably just the stronger side since ‘Gladbach were defeated by Fenebahce at home. If Marseille do pick up a win, they will look almost certain to qualify, whereas a defeat for ‘Gladbach makes them almost certain to be knocked out of the competition.

Predicted score: Borussia Monchengladbach 2v2 Marseille

Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)

‘Gladbach 2.30

Draw 3.30

Marseille 3.10

Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)