Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates with teammates
UEFA Europa League

European Previews: Marseille, Lille return to action

European Previews: Marseille, Lille return to action

UEFA Europa League
Publish on 03/07 at 15:00 - E. DEVIN

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Olympique de Marseille and LOSC Lille resume their European campaigns in the Round of 16 of the Europa League and Europa Conference League respectively this evening.

On the heels of Paris Saint-Germain's progress to the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Tuesday, Ligue 1's other two remaining European representatives continue their campaigns this evening as LOSC Lille face Sturm Graz and Olympique de Marseille take on Villarreal.

Les Dogues are set to face an team in Sturm Graz who are European regulars, but have progressed to the knockout stages in European competition for the first time in more than twenty years. They're a side which has faced French opposition only on rare occasions, and only once in the last two decades, having been in the same Europa League group as AS Monaco two seasons ago.

Led by veteran manager Christian Ilzer, they started their European campaign in the Champions League playoffs, but successive eliminations there and in the Europa League group stage have seem them drop into the Conference League. A team lacking in superstars, Sturm have good depth in attack and have one of the strongest defences in Austria, meaning Lille will need to be patient to break the hosts down.

Lille, who topped their group to bypass the playoff round, enter the match in rather uneven form -- they beat Stade de Reims at the weekend, but have also suffered losses to PSG and Olympique Lyonnais in recent weeks. Still, though, with the likes of in-form Jonathan David and Edon Zhegrova at his disposal, Lille manager Paulo Fonseca should feel confident of a result on the road.

 

 

Marseille, meawhile, having gotten past Shakhtar Donetsk in the Playoff Round of the Europa League, will take on a familiar face in a Villarreal side led by Marcelino, who was their manager at the start of the season. Winners of the competition in 2020-21 under Unai Emery, Villarreal are also like Marseille in that they have been in uneven form domestically, sitting just 12th in the La Liga table, but have impressed in Europe, topping a group that also included Stade Rennais.

With a side that includes former Marseille defender Eric Bailly, as well as Étienne Capoue and Aïssa Mandi, both former Ligue 1 players, Villarreal have a very dangerous attack, but a mediocre defence -- the "Yellow Submarine" have the third-poorest defence in Spain, and could fall prey to a Marseille side who have been scoring seemingly at will (12 goals in three matches) under their own new manager, Jean-Louis Gasset.

In Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Les Phocéens have a player who is in-form to the point of being the competition's top scorer this season, as well as of all time. With he and Iliman Ndiaye hitting form, this match at the Vélodrome augurs well for the hosts.

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