Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Mandanda back as Marseille seek Bordeaux rebound

Publish on 04/04/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS


Olympique de Marseille are looking to steady the ship against Girondins de Bordeaux on Friday after a recent wobble, and have club captain Steve Mandanda among those returning from suspension to help them.

Girondins de Bordeaux - Olympique de Marseille 

Rudi Garcia's men have dropped five points in their last two games to slip to fifth, one place behind AS Saint-Etienne in the UEFA Europa League spot, and now six away from Olympique Lyonnais, who have tightened their grip on the third and final UEFA Champions League place in recent weeks.

Mario Balotelli gave his new employers a 2-0 lead against Angers SCO last Saturday, only for Les Scoïstes to return fire with a pair of Thomas Mangani penalties to secure a 2-2 draw for the visitors at the Orange Vélodrome. Although disappointed, Garcia remained philosophical.

'Still believe in Champions League'

"As long as it's mathematically possible we'll still believe we can qualify for the Champions League," he said. "Of course we believe but we still have to win matches. It's a bump in the road, getting held at home. We'll have to recover points on the road. We lost balls that we shouldn't be losing and Angers took advantage. We played well for the first half-hour and then stopped attacking. We can't blame refereeing decisions for this."

OM's cause was not helped by the absences of first-choice goalkeeper Mandanda, as well as defensive regulars Boubacar Kamara and Hiroki Sakai, but all three are available again after suspension and expected to slot straight back into the first XI at the Matmut Atlantique.

Bouna Sarr misses out having been red carded against Angers, but Garcia has an otherwise full-strength squad to call upon as he looks to steer Les Phocéens to an eighth consecutive game without defeat against Friday's opponents.

Sousa's start

Bordeaux are still finding their feet under new coach Paulo Sousa. The former Portugal midfielder replaced Ricardo Gomes and Éric Bedouet in the Girondins' dugout before the international break, and although three consecutive draws could be worse, Sousa would like to see more from his team.

"I'm more satisfied with the result than with our performance," he said after the most recent stalemate, against Amiens SC. "We tried to play football in the first half but not beyond that. We had a good attitude, but it's not enough. We must be more consistent and work in this direction in the future. I also want to congratulate the supporters of both sides who gave a nice atmosphere to this match."

Palencia playing?

Jules Koundé was a makeshift right-back at the Stade de le Licorne, but Sergi Palencia looks to have recovered from a knock picked up on international duty with Spain and should retake his place out wide with Koundé returning to his preferred central role.

At the other end, Samuel Kalu and Andreas Cornelius have thigh and groin strains respectively, leaving Jimmy Briand, Yann Karamoh, François Kamano and Nicolas de Préville to battle out to for the right to start in Sousa's preferred three-man attack.


Possible line-ups

Marseille: Mandanda; Sakai, Kamara, Caleta-Car, Amavi; Thauvin, Lopez, Sanson, Ocampos; Germain, Balotelli

Bordeaux: Costil; Pablo, Jovanovic, Koundé; Palencia, Otávio, Basic, Poundjé; De Préville, Kamano; Briand