Olympique de Marseille have their sights focussed on a place in the UEFA Europa League final when they face RB Salzburg in Austria in Thursday's semi-final second leg.
Thursday, 3 May, 2018
UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg
Red Bull Arena, Salzburg
RB Salzburg - Olympique de Marseille
Rudi Garcia's men have a handy 2-0 advantage from the first game in France a week ago, which will be useful against a side Marseille twice failed to score against, nevermind beat, in the group stage, and which has already seen off Borussia Dortmund and Lazio en route to the last four.
The game will be Marseille's 58th of the campaign, the most of any side in Europe, but Garcia is convinced his players are in shape to take the club through to its first European final since 2003/04.
"The players are good physically. They've shown that in recent games, and psychologically, they have won so many matches in the last 15 minutes," explained the OM boss, whose team are also in the hunt for a top-three finish in Ligue 1 Conforama. "The players have shown that enthusiasm. We hope to play in the Europa League final and finish on the Ligue 1 podium, so it's an exciting end to the season."
Number two Yohann Pelé will be in goal, despite first-choice 'keeper Steve Mandanda having recovered from a thigh injury, while full-back Hiroko Sakai and striker Kostas Mitroglou are both sidelined.
Mitroglou's absence is particularly disappointing given the Greece international had found the net nine times in as many competitive outings domestically, hitting the sort of form Marseille had hoped to see him in when the picked him up from Benfica last summer.
Valère Germain will deputise at the spearhead of the attack, and Garcia has confidence the team he puts out will get the job done.
"We have missing players, but there's no point in talking about them," he explained. "You have to look at what strengths you have present, and we have the players to do the job and qualify. Will will play with a centre-forward, two strikers, a number 10…we'll have to see. But we have all we need to put out a competitive team."
Marseille: Pelé - Sarr, Rami, Rolando, Amavi - Luiz Gustavo, Sanson - Thauvin, Payet, Ocampos - Germain