Record crowd to see if OM can reach semis
Olympique de Marseille will boast a new attendance record for a home match in Europe as they attempt to overturn a one-goal deficit to RB Leipzig in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals at Orange Vélodrome.
Thursday, April 1, 2018
UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, second leg
Olympique de Marseille (0) - (1) RB Leipzig
Almost 62,000 spectators are expected to roar OM on, beating the record posted against Newcastle in 2004 in the semi-finals of the now defunct UEFA Cup. OM boss Rudi Garcia is excited to taste the special atmosphere: "We'll play in front of a full stadium," he said. "The atmosphere will be fantastic and the Vélodrome will post a new record. It is down to our players to make the most of that and reach the semi-finals, something French clubs don't achieve very often. I came here because European competition is in the DNA of OM and because OM have one of the best supports in France."
Thauvin fitness boost
OM have received a massive boost with Florian Thauvin, their top scorer with 18 goals in all competitions, returning from a hamstring injury that's kept him out since the international break. Expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1, OM are without injured first-choice centre-halves Adil Rami and Rolando and that means Luiz Gustavo is again likely to fill in at the heart of the defence.
It has been a week of remontadas and OM's task is, on paper, far easier than what Garcia's former club Roma achieved against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday evening. Garcia said: "I'd like to congratulate Roma as it was a great moment. I was watching on TV and it was some exploit and the example to follow. The Stadio Olympico was fantastic and we need to be inspired by them."
Garcia: "A little bit of craziness"
Garcia knows what his players have to do to make the last four of a European competition for the first time in 14 years: "What counts is not having any regrets come the final whistle. I think that if we give it everything then we'll qualify. In the first leg my players respected the gameplan but that won't be enough in the second leg. We'll need to play with a little bit of craziness in order to qualify."
Timo Werner, who struggled with the din at Besiktas in the Champions League this season, is OK after suffering a thigh injury against Bayer Leverkusen on Monday in a 4-1 defeat. Coach Ralph Hassenhüttl warned: "If we play the way we did in the second half against Leverkusen then we risk a difficult evening."
Marseille: Pelé; Sarr, Kamara, Luiz Gustavo, Sakai; Anguissa, Sanson; Thauvin, Payet, Ocampos; Mitroglou
Leipzig: Gulacsi; Klostermann, Orban, Upamecano, Bernardo; Sabitzer, Kampl, Keita, Forsberg; Werner, Augustin