Leonardo Balerdi, Kasper Dolberg, Marseille, Nice

Marseille without Balerdi against Dolberg's Nice

Marseille without Balerdi against Dolberg's Nice

Publish on 08/22 at 11:04 - S. WILLIS


Olympique de Marseille are without suspended centre-back Leonardo Balerdi as they travel to OGC Nice hoping Dimitri Payet can outscore Kasper Dolberg on Sunday.

OGC Nice - Olympique de Marseille


- kick-off: 20:45 GMT




The season is young, but Nice and Marseille already boast an attacker each who has hit the ground running in Dolberg and Payet.


Dane Dolberg had been benched for les Aiglons' opening day 0-0 draw with Stade de Reims, but returned to the starting line-up last Saturday and scored twice as Nice beat champions LOSC 4-0.


Galtier's golden return


The 23-year-old scored three goals as Denmark made it to the quarter-finals of this summer's UEFA European Championships, and he can be confident of leading the line at the Allianz Riviera on Sunday, with Christophe Galtier delighted at the victory over his previous employers, whom he led to the 2020/21 title.


Watch: Highlights of Nice's 4-0 win in Lille



"It was a beautiful victory," said the coach. "I wanted my team to express themselves in the same style as the team I managed last season, with character, enthusiasm and solidarity. Nice played like the LOSC of last season.


"We should enjoy this victory, but we need to keep our feet on the ground."


Still no Stengs


Dutch attacker Calvin Stengs still awaits his debut having arrived from AZ Alkmaar carrying a thigh injury, while midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Alexis Claude-Maurice - who scored as Nice won the corresponding fixture 3-0 last term - are longer-term absentees.


Marseille have scored five goals in two games to start the season, but Jorge Sampaoli's side have also conceded four in that time, with last Sunday's 2-2 draw with Girondins de Bordeaux showing the best under worst of les Phocéens under the Argentine tactician.


Watch: Highlights of Nice's 3-0 win in March



Payet - one of only two players to have outscored Dolberg this season - bagged his third goal of the campaign as OM raced into a two-goal lead, but Bordeaux came back to level the tie before Balerdi was given his marching orders for a dangerous tackle on Sékou Mara late on.


Balerdi banned


Balerdi will miss this game, as well as next Saturday's visit of AS Saint-Étienne, with Boubacar Kamara likely to slot into Sampaoli's preferred three-man defensive system and Valentin Rongier in line to plug the gap he would leave in midfield.


Watch: Highlights of Marseille's 2-2 draw with Bordeaux



"We thought we were in control, but Bordeaux were somewhat lucky to come back," Sampaoli said. "We have to learn from this. When you lose control, things like that happen. We would've liked to give the fans a victory but unfortunately we couldn't.


Still work to do


"We must remember that we have a young group. It's not completely finished yet."


One thing Sampaoli will be loath to change is Payet leading the line in the injury-enforced absence of Arkadiusz Milik. As well as Balerdi and the Polish striker, Marseille are without Steve Mandanda's understudy Pau Lopez due to a shoulder injury.


Possible line-ups


Nice: Benitez; Atal, Todibo, Dante (c), Bard; Boudaoui, Rosario, Lemina, Kluivert; Dolberg, Gouiri


Marseille: Mandanda; Saliba, Alvaro, Peres; Kamara, Gueye, Guendouzi; Gerson; Ünder, Payet (c), De la Fuente


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