Our prediction for this Champions League match:
Olympiacos Piraeus and Olympique Marseille go head to head at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in what is expected to be a close Champions League encounter. The Thrylos booked their place in the group stages by beating Omonia in the two-legged tie, and, no doubt, they will have a much bigger fish to fry against OM. A man to keep an eye on in the home team will be Youseff El Arabi, but the opposition defenders should have veteran Mathieu Valbuena at bay as well.
The Ligue 1 outfit, on the other hand, made a slow start to the domestic campaign, meaning that a win in Wednesday’s showdown could help them regain a much-needed confidence. However, share of spoils is on the cards in Piraeus as Olympiacos are tough to beat at home. The good news for the visitors is that former Premier League ace Dimitri Payet returns from a domestic ban.
Highlighted Player (Yann M Vila):
Formerly a blistering talent and one of the most promising youngsters in French football, Yann M’Vila ended up being a class book example of a player who made all the wrong choices. Having started his career at the age of six with ES Sains-Saint-Fussein, M’Villa was quick to turn heads of the big boys. He was given a chance to move through youth ranks at Rennes where he was given a professional debut in 2009 but it was not long after that his problematic lifestyle came back to haunt him.
Yann M’Villa got suspended from all national teams after an unauthorized night out while on U21 duty with France, a ban which left mark on his club career as well. Despite interest from the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham, M’Villa was sold to Rubin kazan in January 2013 which was the time his nomadic experience as a footballer began.
Spells as Inter Milan and Sunderland failed to help him get back to prominence and meet the early expectations, however. Currently a St Etienne player, M’Villa is hoping to re-establish himself back in his homeland.
Highlighted Team (Marseille):
Olympique de Marseille are considered one of the best French football clubs. Les Olympiens won their ninth Ligue 1 title in 2010, but winning of the 1992/1993 Champions League trophy is seen as the club’s biggest success. Marseille defeated Italian giants Milan in the title game, with Basile Boli scoring the winner (1-0) in the Olympiastadion showdown.
It has to be noted, though, that the Stade Velodrome outfit were banned from defending the title in the 1993/1994 season after being involved in a match-fixing scandal. To make things even worse for the fans, the club suffered enforced relegation to the Ligue 2. Olympique de Marseille participated in the Europa League final on two occasions (1998/1999, 2003/2004), but they were beaten by Parma and Valencia respectively in the title games. OM’s home ground Stade Velodrome was opened on June 13, 1997 and the capacity of the stadium is 67.394.
The likes of Franck Ribery, Didier Deschamps, Didier Drogba, Laurent Blanc, Fabien Barthez, Samir Nasri, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Djibril Cisse all played for Marseille in the past.