MX23RW : Friday, November 16 01:54:11

Preview: Marseille vs. Atletico Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Europa League final as French side Marseille take on two-time winners Atletico Madrid at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon.

Marseille take on Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final at the Groupama Stadium with Rudi Garcia's charges bidding to become the first French side to win the tournament.

As for Diego Simeone's Atletico, Los Rojiblancos will be without their coach on the touchline following his sending-off in the semi-finals, as the Spanish club look to win a third Europa crown since 2010.


Marseille

Dimitri Payet playing for Marseille in the 2016-17 season© Offside

Marseille - the first club to win the current Champions League format in 1993 - make the short trip north as they aim to claim their first Europa League crown.

Les Phoceens are into the final having edged past Red Bull Salzburg courtesy of an extra-time goal from substitute Rolando that ended a closely-fought semi-final.

The French club started their Europa campaign early in the third qualifying round. Marseille have managed to win eight out of their nine European home games this term, but the side's away form will be slightly worrying heading to a neutral ground - competing away from the Stade Velodrome in Europe, Marseille have won just once in nine.

Having come runners-up in the 1998-99 and 2003-04 UEFA Cups, Marseille have now reached the Europa League final at the fourth time of asking. The club currently sit fourth in Ligue 1 and are one point outside of the Champions League spots. They will either need to win the final or usurp third-placed Lyon on the final day of the domestic season should they want to feature in the elite competition next term.

Facing Spanish opposition, Marseille have won just four of their 15 UEFA games, losing eight of those contests. What will please coach Garcia, however, is that his side have already won twice against Athletic Bilbao in this term's round of 16.

To combat Atletico's recent continental experience, Marseille will be relying on the likes of Dimitri Payet, Adil Rami and Luiz Gustavo. Payet has recorded seven assists, the most by any player in this season's tournament

As for Rami, the centre-back has started 16 of Marseille's 18 European encounters and also won the tournament when playing in defence for Sevilla during the 2015-16 season. Gustavo is the only Marseille player to have started all of the team's 14 matches in the competition this year.

OM head to Lyon knowing that no French side has ever won the UEFA Cup or Europa League, but given the number of games they have played this term, combined with some of their mercurial talents, Marseille might just fancy themselves to rewrite history at the Stade de Lyon.

Recent form: WWDLWD
Recent form (all competitions): DWWDWD


Atletico Madrid

Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring for Atletico Madrid on September 17, 2017© Offside

Atletico enter Wednesday's final looking to add another piece of European silverware to an already-laden collection, but the club will be without boss Simeone on the touchline, as he continues to serve a four-match ban following his dismissal against Arsenal in the semis.

Simeone's charges have won the Europa League twice already, collecting the inaugural prize in 2010 before coming back to win the tournament again in 2012.

Atletico have had a five-year absence from the competition and have put that time away to good use in the Champions League. Madrid have taken part in two Champions League finals, a semi-final and a quarter-final during their break from the Europa.

On the club's way to the final in France, Atletico reached the knockouts after a lacklustre showing in the Champions League group stages. Entering the Europa, Madrid have since knocked out FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, Sporting Lisbon and Arsenal.

Against Arsene Wenger's charges, Madrid showed commendable tenacity and industry despite not being at their best. The two-time winners are in the final after producing a standout collective effort to draw 1-1 at the Emirates with 10 men, before capping off an impressive display to win 1-0 back in the Spanish capital.

Atletico have managed to win three out of the eight major UEFA competition finals that they have reached in the club's history. Those cup-winning efforts came in the 1962 European Cup Winners' Cup and in the 2010 and 2012 incarnations of the Europa League.

The club travel to Lyon having lost just one European away game outside of Madrid this term. Atletico are currently sitting in second place in the La Liga standings and require just a single point on the final day to claim the position and finish above city rivals Real Madrid.

Fellow Spanish side Sevilla are the only club to win three Europa League crowns and Atletico now have the opportunity to match Los Hispalenses. Coach Simeone is the only non-European manager to win the Europa League.

Recent form: WLDWLW
Recent form (all competitions): DDWWLW


Team News

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann during the Champions League match against Leicester City on April 18, 2017© SilverHub

Rolando is still likely to be struggling with a knock, meaning that Gustavo should continue alongside Rami at centre-back.

Garcia should opt for a 4-2-3-1 that sees Payet, Lucas Ocampos and Florian Thauvin providing creative support for frontman Valere Germain.

Sime Vrsaljko has served his suspension for being sent off against Arsenal, although Simeone could leave his faith in fellow defender Juanfran.

Filipe Luis is back from injury and could force Lucas Hernandez out at left-back, while Gabi is favourite to start alongside Saul Niguez in the centre of the pitch.

Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa will lead the line for Atletico with wide support being provided by Angel Correa and Koke on the flanks.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Pele; Sarr, Rami, Gustavo, Amavi; Lopez, Sanson; Thauvin, Ocampos, Payet, Germain

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Savic, Luis; Correa, Gabi, Saul, Koke, Costa, Griezmann


Head To Head

The only previous two fixtures between the teams came in the 2008-09 Champions League group stages.

Atletico, led by former boss Javier Aguirre, beat Marseille 2-1 in the Spanish capital in the opening fixture, before the reverse saw a goalless draw played out in France.

Atletico have only lost one game against a French side. That defeat came against Lens in the fourth round of the 1999-02 UEFA Cup. Marseille have lost eight out of 15 against teams from Spain.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Marseille 1-2 Atletico Madrid

OM have a Champion League title to their name, but that success came over a decade ago. At times this season the French club have proven destructive going forward and they stand a chance should the likes of Payet and company rise to the occasion.

Atletico have crucial experience in both Champions League and Europa League finals, coming into this tournament having won it twice already.

The club will be missing Simeone on the touchline, although this Madrid squad has so many experienced players when it comes to UEFA competitions that the Argentine's absence may not be too destructive to Atletico's chances.


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Who will win the 2017-18 Europa League final?

Marseille
Atletico Madrid
Marseille
34.1%
Atletico Madrid
65.9%
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone during the Champions League match with Leicester City on April 18, 2017
Read Next:
Simeone: 'My squad is not big enough'
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona1273234181624
2Sevilla1272324141023
3Atletico MadridAtletico12651168823
4AlavesAlaves127231712523
5Espanyol126331610621
6Real Madrid126242016420
7Real Valladolid1245399017
8Levante125251819-117
9GironaGirona124531314-117
10Real Sociedad124441514116
11Getafe124441110116
12Real Betis124441215-316
13EibarEibar124351218-615
14Celta Vigo123542220214
15Valencia1228289-114
16Villarreal122551113-211
17Athletic Bilbao121741319-610
18Leganes12246916-710
19Rayo Vallecano121471425-117
20Huesca121381025-156

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