Marseille and Atletico Madrid will contest the Europa League final
By talkSPORT – @talkSPORT
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Marseille and Atletico Madrid will contest the Europa League final tonight hoping to lift the trophy in Lyon.
Both sides have battled their way to this climax with Atletico dropping down from the Champions League and their French opponents fighting through the competition from the third qualifying round, which started at the end of July.
But now it comes down to one match, with the winner taking it all.
Both sides have history in European competition with Marseille winning the 1993 Champions League and finishing as runners-up in the 1999 and 2004 UEFA Cup finals. Meanwhile Atletico won the Europa League in 2010 and 2012 and were runners-up in the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals.
What the managers are saying
Rudi Garcia: “We have a pretty small chance of winning but we are going to give it our all. Playing Atlético is a big event for us. This is a club who have played two Champions League finals in the past four years, a club that won the Europa League not long ago. But a final at home in France is a fantastic opportunity. No French side have ever won this trophy; it would be fantastic if we could be the first.”
Diego Simeone: “Everything is set up for a great final. [Marseille have] been improving and they have a coach who has so many options at his disposal and a lot of nous. They’re very dangerous, particularly in midfield and attack. It’ll certainly be a tough game. As soon as we got knocked out of the Champions League, we immediately embraced this competition. Being widely billed as contenders to reach the final heightened our sense of duty and responsibility. And here we are.”
What the players are saying
Dimitri Payet: “Those who won the Champions League in 1993 are still heroes because nobody else has done it since.
“We know how tough it is. Of course, that is an added source of motivation, and if we do win the final, our names will be written into the club’s history books forever.”
Antoine Griezmann: “This could be my first important title after winning the Spanish Super Cup. I have the opportunity to win the Europa League now and I really want that. I’ll do everything I can to help my team-mates. For the club, it’s just another title. It’s important and it shows that we always compete with the best teams.”
Predicted Marseille XI: Mandanda; Sakai, Rami, Luiz Gustavo, Amavi; Anguissa, Sanson; Thauvin, Payet, Ocampos; Germain.
Doubtful: Rolando (calf), Sarr (shoulder), Mitroglou (thigh), Payet (thigh).
Predicted Atletico Madrid XI: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Giménez, Godín, Lucas; Koke, Saúl Ñíguez, Gabi, Correa; Griezmann, Costa.