Apr 26, 2018 at 8.05pm UK at ​Stade Vélodrome (Marseille)
Attendance: 62,312
SalzburgRed Bull Salzburg
Thauvin (15'), N'Jie (63')
Lopez (20'), Mitroglou (90')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Wolf (22')

Preview: Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Europa League action as Marseille take on Red Bull Salzburg in the first leg of their semi-final clash in Wals-Siezenheim.

Marseille face Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final clash on Thursday having eliminated RB Leipzig in the previous round of the tournament.

Salzburg produced a memorable turnaround to get beyond Lazio in the quarters and Marco Rose's men will now be dreaming of a chance to win a first major UEFA competition in the club's history.


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

Marseille's route to the semi-finals has already seen the French club eliminate Red Bull's flagship side RB Leipzig in what was arguably the most thrilling of the knockout ties in the tournament thus far.

Leipzig took a 1-0 lead to the south of France before OM staged a memorable comeback to seal a dramatic 5-2 victory at the Orange Velodrome, thanks to standout performances from Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin.

Rudi Garcia's charges have managed to win seven out of eight European games at home this term. The only club to have taken something from the Velodrome this term are Salzburg, who picked up a point in France when these sides met earlier in the group stages.

In fact, Marseille have not been beaten at home in Europe since the 2015-16 Europa League round of 16 when they were defeated 1-0 by travelling Athletic Bilbao. This season OM have scored 21 goals in the tournament and 11 in the knockout stages. Garcia's men have conceded just six in a run that has also seen them earn four clean sheets.

Marseille have been impressive domestically this season and Garcia's men now find themselves in the middle of an enthralling scrap to finish second behind already-crowned champions Paris Saint-Germain. Both Marseille and Lyon are just a single point behind second-placed Monaco.

OM are the only side left in the tournament who have won a Champions League crown. The French side have some handy experience in the latter rounds of European competitions, having been UEFA Cup runners-up in both 1998-99 and 2003-04.

The club's fifth-place finish in Ligue 1 last term saw Marseille start early in the competition this time around. As things stand, OM will be heading into their 17th Europa League fixture of the campaign in a stretch that will match the club's record run of European fixtures during 2003-04 season.

This Europa League semi-final is the first that Marseille have managed to reach after four attempts and Garcia's side have a promising chance of making it into a final having been spared both Arsenal and Atletico Madrid in the final four.

Recent form: WLDWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLWDWW

Red Bull Salzburg

The Austrians were able to pick up four points against Marseille in the group stages this term, beating OM at home and also picking up a point on the road. Thursday's game represents the third meeting between the clubs this season.

Much like Marseille, Salzburg produced a monumental comeback in the quarter-finals. The Austrian outfit lost 4-2 to Lazio in Rome during the first leg but scored four second-half goals in the return game to earn a 4-1 win to help seal progress into the semis.

Salzburg have played 18 games in the tournament already and proved efficient when marching through the group stages. The Austrians equaled a record set by Standard Liege a few seasons ago having conceded just once in the group phase. RB did only score seven of their own, though - the lowest number of any of the 12 group winners.

The club have plenty of experience in this competition, but have never been able to win either a UEFA Cup or Europa crown. In the Europa League, Salzburg have now played 58 fixtures and the club's tally of 30 wins in the tournament is bettered only by Villarreal, who have notched 33 from 62 showings.

Current coach Marco Rose has been handed plaudits from large sections of the European footballing community after leading Salzburg's youngsters to the UEFA Youth League crown. Rose now finds himself at the helm following the departure of former boss Oscar Garcia last summer.

Salzburg's squad have been exemplary domestically in recent years. Die Roten Bullen have won the Austrian league and cup double for four seasons in a row, but have never managed to lift a major UEFA trophy. Salzburg lost to Inter Milan in the two-legged UEFA Cup final in 1994.

Central to the club's European success this term has been the consistency shown by veteran defender Andreas Ulmer. The 32-year-old has been ever-present in the Europa League, playing every minute of Salzburg's 18 games alongside promising Israeli striker Moanes Dabour.

Salzburg find themselves in a commanding position in the Austrian Bundesliga as they aim to wrap up a 12th domestic title. Rose has already impressed onlookers during the club's progression into semis and his previous results against OM will likely leave RB followers confident when heading to France.

Recent form: DWWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): LLWWDW

Team News

Marseille might be without Japanese defender Hiroki Sakai after he was taken off during the club's Ligue 1 fixture at the weekend, while Boubacar Kamara and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda are also missing.

Valere Germain is likely to be given the nod to lead the hosts' attack with further support coming from Payet, Thauvin and Lucas Ocampos.

Rose has a full squad to pick from on Thursday and the club will also be welcoming back midfielder Diadie Samassekou from suspension.

Dabbur, the Austrian Bundesliga's top scorer this term, should continue his strike partnership with youngster Hwang Hee-chan.

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

Red Bull Salzburg possible starting lineup:
Walke; Lainer, Ramalho, Caleta-Car, Ulmer; Haidara, Samassekou, Berisha; Schlager, Dabbur, Hee-Chan

Head To Head

The teams' two group-stage fixtures this term are the only two competitive meetings between the clubs. Salzburg won and drew against Marseille earlier in the tournament.

In six meetings against Austrian sides, Marseille have won two, drawn two and lost two. As for Salzburg, the Austrians have come up against Ligue 1 opponents on six previous occasions, winning three, drawing one and losing two contests.

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We say: Marseille 2-1 Red Bull Salzburg

Including their emphatic win over Leipzig, Marseille have managed to bag 13 goals in three games in recent weeks. Garcia will be hoping that come the end of Thursday the French side have a healthy lead to take to Austria next week.

Both sides have shown in the quarters that they are capable of fluid, attacking football, but each team have also shipped goals of late.

There were 19 goals combined during the teams' last-eight matches and that perhaps suggests the type of game that might be in store at the Orange Velodrome.

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Who will win the first leg of Thursday's Europa League semi-final clash between Marseille and Red Bull Salzburg?

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