RB Leipzig's promising goal and clean sheet at home in Germany will have them confident of completing the job against French side Marseille on Thursday night in the second leg of this quarterfinal tie in the Europa League.
Arena CSKA, Moscow, Russia 12 Apr 2018 7:05 pm (GMT)
Key Stat: Marseille have yet to lose a European match on home soil this season, and they will be hoping to use that to their advantage to advance.
Expert Verdict: Despite their loss in the first leg to RB Leipzig, by just a goal mind you, Marseille are far from done. Yes, the lack of an away goal is very tricky for them, and that will force them to be very careful in the way they go about looking for their equalizer on aggregate. But the French side are not done and dusted yet. With that said, the ability for Leipzig to counterattack is simply phenomenal, and that is their ticket to move into the last four.
Rudi Garcia has some injury issues to account for ahead of this second leg. Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, center backs Rolando and Adil Rami, and winger Florian Thauvin all are set to miss this big match at home.
Marseille are looking a little light on talent at the moment with so many players out, but they still have a strong core available to them in order to fight back. One such man that could help in that regard is striker Valerie Germain. The Frenchman has led the way in terms of scoring for them in the Europa League with seven goals to his name, and he will be looking and needing to get to at least eight to help them advance.
Marseille have a draw, two losses, and two wins in their last five matches:
0-0 home draw vs Montpellier
1-0 loss at RB Leipzig (UEL)
1-3 win at Dijon
2-3 home loss vs Lyon
1-2 win at Athletic Bilbao (UEL)
Defenders:Sakai, Kamara, Dias, Amavi
Defensive Midfielders:Lopez, Sanson
Attacking Midfielders:Sarr, Payet, Ocampos
Ralph Hassenhuttl has injuries to a couple of players to defensive midfielder Stefan Ilsanker and left back Marcel Halstenburg that will keep them out of the side for this second leg. Ademola Lookman remains out due to being cup tied having featured for Everton in the group stages. They rotated every so slightly on Monday, but still played a very strong side in that lopsided loss, but many of those players should also feature here as it is their best team largely.
Timo Werner scored the lone goal in the first leg and the assist came from Emil Forsberg, but despite the undoubted importance of the star duo, it is central midfielder Naby Keita that should be watched even more closely. The Guinea man has been superb in the middle of the park both in defensive and attacking situations, and he will be the key man here to ensure that Leipzig not only tick over and don't concede too much space too quickly on the counter.
Leipzig have a loss, three wins, and a draw in their last five matches:
1-4 home loss vs Bayer Leverkusen
1-0 home win vs Marseille (UEL)
2-3 win at home Hannover
2-1 home win vs Bayern Munich
1-1 draw at Zenit (UEL)
Defenders:Klostermann, Orban, Upamecano, Bernardo
Midfielders:Sabitzer, Demme, Keita, Forsberg
The first meeting between these sides was last weekend in the first leg, and it was RB Leipzig that got the win thanks to a goal from Timo Werner.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Marseille are at 11/8 to win, a draw is at 21/10, and an RB Leipzig win is at 21/10.
Marseille's path to the Champions League is still very much on the line, but they have two routes to go about it still. They have the opportunity to qualify by winning this tournament, and they also still have a chance from Ligue 1. They are tied with Lyon on 63 points with six matches left to play, so there is certainly work to do for them in both competitions if they plan to be playing among the best in Europe next season. Much like Marseille, Leipzig are able to get there via this competition or the league. As things sit in the Bundesliga, they are in sixth, and they are only out of the top four by two points now after the loss to Leverkusen. Otherwise, they had been in good form heading into this match.
Marseille have just two losses at home all season long. They also have drawn six times and won 16 times in 24 total matches. This is a very good record for them overall, but they have not had the best run of form of late with a draw and a loss in their last two home games. But, as stated before, they have been dominant at home in Europe this season, so that gives them a great chance to try and turn this score line around.
As for Leipzig, they have been up and down on the road. They have won eight times, drawn four times, and lost eight times in 20 matches total. In Europa League play so far, just two matches, they have picked up a win (over Napoli) and a draw against Zenit. Either of those results here would get them into the semi-finals, but one has to be a little wary about them given that they have lost away to a lot of good teams this term.
Both teams scoring has been set at 8/15 at Ladbrokes.
Both of these teams look fairly evenly matched talent-wise, and that could lead to a stalemate. The only issue with that is that Marseille cannot go through with a draw of any kind, so it'll be Leipzig moving on due to their pace up front.