Our football match prediction:
Against all odds, Domzale eliminated Freiburg in the Europa League third qualifying round, but they do not want to stop now. The Slovenians aim to shock star-studded Olympique Marseille in the play-offs, but they will have a big fish to fry in the two-legged tie against the Ligue 1 outfit. Olympique Marseille chiefs did well to add the likes of Luiz Gustavo, Adil Rami and Valere Germain to the squad in the summer transfer window and, as expected, OM outplayed Belgian side Oostende in previous round. Dimitri Payet is still considered Marseille’s key players and all eyes will be on the former West Ham United man when the two teams face each other at Stadion Stozice in Thursday’s football match. Domzale did well to beat Freiburg in round 3, but we do not believe that they are capable of claiming yet another major scalp in the process.
Highlighted Player (Hiroki Sakai):
Hiroki Sakai is a product of Kashiwa Reysol football academy and, as expected, he made his first-team debut with the Hitachi Kashiwa Soccer Stadium outfit. Sakai played his first ever match for Kashiwa against Kofu (1-1) on May 5, 2010 and during the 2011 season he established himself as a first-team regular. The pacey right back made 27 appearances for Kashiva in the 2011 season and he remained at the club until the summer of 2012. Hiroki Sakai then played for Hannover (2012-2016) and he scored two goals in 92 appearances in the league for the Bundesliga club. In 2016 he joined Marseille and he played regularly for OM in the 2016/2017 Ligue 1 campaign (35 appearances). Sakai was born in Kashiva on April 12, 1990 and 22 years later he made his senior debut for Japan, playing 45 minutes in a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan. It has to be noted that the Marseille footballer has 17 caps for Japan U23 team as well.
Highlighted Team (Olympique 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.