Olympique de Marseille's first preparation match for the 2020-21 season ended in an easy 5-1 win over Austrian club FC Pinzgau on Sunday, with Florian Thauvin looking fit and well and new attacking recruit Pape Gueye finding the net.
Florian Thauvin - absent through injury for almost all of last season - and new recruit Pape Gueye lit up Olympique de Marseille's first pre-season match against Austrian club Pinzgau (5-1) in Kufstein on Sunday.
For this first friendly of the summer, 'Flotov' provided assists for the first two goals, while former Le Havre forward Gueye opened the scoring (24'), racked up possession after possession and also showcased his long-passing game, setting up attacks from his defensive midfield position in front of the centre-backs.
The gentle Bavarian sun was not the only thing that lit up the pitch in this small Austrian town not far from Grassau, the Bavarian base camp for OM's pre-season camp in Germany. In short, the two 'new boys' shone - if you put Thauvin symbolically in this category, as he only played two ten-minute games as his last season was curtailed by a long injury absence and then the pandemic.
Thauvin at the heart
Thauvin got the ball rolling, after a slow start. After a tackle from midfielder Niklas Mühlbacher, Flotov took his revenge by tormenting his opposite number, notably dribbling past him - and another defender - with ease (21'). Just after this action, he saw his just-under-the-crossbar shot stopped by Pinzgau's Croatian goalkeeper Stipo Colic, but when the World Cup winner drove in the resulting corner, Pape Gueye was on hand to turn home after Duje Caleta-Car headed down (24'). Thauvin was again decisive when he headed Alvaro Gonzalez's cross in for the second goal (31').
The Spanish defender collapsed in pain after landing awkwardly on his left knee - prompting some nervy moments for OM boss André Villas-Boas - but Gonzalez soon got up and returned to action. Andre Villas-Boas had chosen a starting XI close to his first-choice line-up, with with the exception of youngster Florent Chabrolle starting on the left and replaced by Dimitri Payet in the second half.
Payet, Sanson down to business
After the break, AVB changed seven players and attempted a Bielsa-style 3-3-3-1 system with young Marley Aké in the lead for the first quarter of an hour. Only Alvaro, Jordan Amavi, Valentin Rongier and Morgan Sanson remained for the second half.
The quarter of an hour played in this scheme proved to be attractive, and OM put two goals in. Sanson played Payet in (47') for the third goal and then scored the fourth himself, with 'Dim' returning the favour from a corner (50'). Valère Germain scored the fifth, taking advantage of a cross from Saïf-Eddine Khaoui (72).
Next up: Heimstetten
In the interim, OM's defence had been caught napping, leaving an opportunity for Austrian captain Tamas Tandari to head home (60'). The goal rewarded the sparring-partner efforts of FC Pinzgau Saalfelden, a side coached by former Bayern Munich and Germany player Christian Ziege, and featuring his son Alessandro.
Thus OM got their Bavarian camp going with an easy win, and AVB's men will follow up onWednesday in Grassau as they take on Heimstetten, a German fourth-division club from the suburbs of Munich. OM fans can't wait for the season to start: the club's Twitch audience peaked at a massive 100,000 viewers for a first friendly against a third-division side from Austria. OM are back at last!
OM in the first half:
Mandanda - Sarr, Alvaro, Caleta-Car, Amavi - Rongier, Pa. Gueye, Sanson - Thauvin, Benedetto, Chabrolle
OM in the second half:
Ngapandouetnbu - Sakai, Alvaro (Souaré, 81'), Amavi (Khaoui, 61') - Rongier (Bertelli, 75'), Kamara, Strootman - Germain, Sanson (Abdallah, 61'), Payet - Aké