25th of April 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
Surprise package Salzburg continue their UEFA Europa League journey with a trip to France, they will face Marseille at Velodrome Stadium on Thursday in the first leg of their semi-finals tie. The two teams know each other pretty well because they played in the same Europa League group earlier this season, Salzburg won 1-0 at home before holding out for a goalless draw in Marseille. Salzburg have won three of their six European matches against French sides, while Marseille have won just twice in six matches against teams from Austria.
Marseille have won their last three matches in all competitions, starting with the convincing 5-2 victory over RB Leipzig in the second leg of the Europa League quarter-finals. That match seems to have unleashed the goal scoring forces at Marseille, because they won the following two Ligue 1 matches 3-2 and 5-1. However, they are tied on 69 points with Lyon for third place, so their qualification for the Champions League through their league position is still uncertain. Hiroki Sakai picked up a knock during the last league match and is a doubt for Thursday, while Boubacar Kamara and Steve Mandanda are definitely sidelined.
Red Bull Salzburg have surprised everybody in the previous round, they seemed down and out after having lost the first leg 4-2 at Lazio but somehow they fought back from 1-0 down and won the second leg 4-1 to qualify for the semi-finals. Moreover, they have knocked out solid sides like Real Sociedad and Borussia Dortmund in the previous knockout rounds and finished at the top of Group I, ahead of Marseille. They are comfortably leading the Austrian Bundesliga at the moment and have lost just three matches in all competitions this season.
Marseille: Pele - Sarr, Rami, Rolando, Amavi - Lopez, Gustavo - Thauvin, Payet, Ocampos - Germain
Salzburg: Walke - Lainer, Ramalho, Caleta-Car, Ulmer - Haidara, Samassekou, Berisha - Schlager - Dabbur, Hee-Chan
My prediction: Marseille to win 2-1.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Marseille win - 1.66
Draw - 4.09
Salzburg win - 5.50
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Obviously the French side is in great shape lately and I'm expecting they would continue to dominate in that game too.
For me not much of a difference between Leipzig (who Marseille defeated comfortably) and Salzburg so it's hard to have any other expectations really.
3-1 to the home side.
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