Sunday, September 23, 2018

Prediction: Salzburg vs Marseille

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 28/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

French Ligue 1 side Marseille made a gigantic step towards the Europa League final after beating Salzburg 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final tie. They will look to preserve the first-match advantage against a side that can’t be underestimated, however.

RB Salzburg

Heading into the reverse leg with a two-goal deficit, the Austrian club will look for an improved performance in an attempt to continue their fine home record in the Europa League this season.

RB Salzburg are without a defeat in their seven home appearances in the competition this term. Five of those were wins and the remaining two draws. The Austrians managed to keep a clean sheet in five home games, whereas three wins were achieved by a 3-goal margin, at least. It’s a dream scenario RB Salzburg will hope to repeat as they prepare to welcome the French rivals off the back of a 2-0 domestic triumph over St. Polten at the weekend. Manager Marco Rose made a couple of changes to his line-up in order to keep his key players fresh for what’s been described as the most important match in club’s history. The 25-year-old midfielder Munas Dabbur will return to the fold after being rested last time out and the Israel international will be expected to continue his fine run of form which saw him score 26 goals across all competitions for his club.

Team News

Marco Rose has a full squad to pick from and in widely expected to reintroduce his team’s top scorer Dabbur.

Pongracic is expected to make way for Andre Ramalho at the back, whereas Hwang Hee-Chan is set to be reintroduced in the starting line-up.

Marseille

Goals from Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njie gave Marseille a commanding lead in the first leg but the Ligue 1 side is not expected to head into the second leg with their guard down. The French side boasts a wealth of attacking potential in the final third which makes for a dynamic and fluid attack.

The likes of Thauvin, Njie, Konstantinos Mitroglu and Lucas Ocampos are backed by the former West Ham star Dmitri Payet who orchestrated both of Marseille’s goals in the first leg. the 31-year-old continues to impress with his creativity and vision, remaining the one player who really makes a difference for the Ligue 1 outfit. As they prepare for the second leg in Austria, Marseille will be hoping to utilize the defensive expertise from their midfield engine Luiz Gustavo whose physical presence in front of the back four makes a great difference as well. Rudi Garcia will turn towards his Brazilian star in an effort to neutralize a gifted Salzburg forward line but he will have a couple of notable absentees which might make things more difficult for the visiting side.

Team News

Marseille will be without goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, who continues to recover from a torn thigh muscle.

Hiroki Sakai and Boubacar Kamara are another two players sidelined with injuries.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Salzburg won five of their last six matches in all competitions
  • The Austrian side is unbeaten in last 13 home matches across the competitions
  • Marco Rose’s men scored 19 home goals in Europa League this season
  • Marseille only lost one of their last six matches on the road
  • Dimitri Payet assisted both of his side’s goals in the first leg vs Salzburg

Conclusion

Keeping a clean sheet will be an imperative for Marseille who will be looking to avoid any surprises against the Austrian side RB Salzburg. Financially stabile and secure, Salzburg have been making steady progress over the past couple of seasons and reaching the Europa League final would indeed be a historic success for this club.

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 28/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

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