History: Marseille’s run to the 2018 UEL Final

History: Marseille’s run to the 2018 UEL Final

Publish on 02/22 at 14:52 - G. BOXALL


With Marseille facing Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League knockout play-off round second leg this evening at the Vélodrome, we take a look back at when Les Olympiens reached the final of the competition in 2018, falling short of winning a second European title against Atletico Madrid (3-0).

Olympique de Marseille started their journey in Group I of the Europa League in 2017, finishing just behind RB Salzburg in second on eight points. OM would win against Konyaspor (1-0) and Vitoria (2-1) before losing to Salzburg, then drawing twice in the return legs which was enough to qualify for the round of 32.

They had to face Braga in the first knockout round, and a dominant performance at home with goals from Valère Germain and Florian Thuavin saw Les Olympiens through on aggregate (3-1) to the round of 16.

A tough test awaited Rudi Garcia’s side in the form of Athletic Club Bilbao, but home advantage in the first leg saw OM take a 3-1 lead in the tie thanks to a brace from Lucas Ocampos and a solitary goal from Dimitri Payet. The pair combined again in the away leg as Marseille progressed to the quarter finals with an aggregate score of 5-2.

A memorable seven-goal thriller in the quarter-finals

RB Leipzig awaited in the quarters, where OM risked elimination going into the second leg at home trailing by one goal (1-0). Yet, a chaotic seven-goal thriller at the Vélodrome saw Marseille stun the Germans 5-3 on aggregate to reach the semi-finals of the competition.

Leipzig’s Austrian sister club awaited them. Goals from Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njié at home saw OM go into the second leg with a 2-0 lead. Yet 10-men Salzburg managed to pull back the affair to 2-2, as the tie went to extra time. With the clock running out, Rolando popped up with a goal in the 166th minute to send Marseille into a European final for the fifth time. Pure pandemonium for the Phoceans.

Marseille were gunning for a second European trophy, 25 years after clinching the Champions League - but a dominant performance from Antoine Griezmann in the final saw Les Olympiens stumble at the final hurdle in a loss to Atletico Madrid (0-3). The end of a memorable journey for Rudi Garcia’s side.

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