By: Oma Akatugba
Former Real Madrid midfielder, Christian Karembeu hopes that French side, Olympic Marseille could win the UEFA Europa Cup trophy in Lyon tonight. standing in the way of Olympic Marseille is is Spanish side, Atletico Madrid, who themselves are hoping to win the tournament for the third time in their history. The former French international, who won the world cup on home soil with the Le Blues in 1998 as well as the European Championship in the year 2000, said while speaking to omasports in Lyon.
“We know that Atletico has a strong history with the Europa League. With Gireymand and costa in front, Marseille is coming here to Lyon, in France, we know that Marseille also knows about this competition. They have done well already and of course, for the French people and the fans here in France, we would like that Olympic Marseille can make history again but again there is Atletico Madrid and it is going to be very hard”
The French side reached their first European final since 2005 when they lost in the Uefa Cup to Valencia.
Spaniards Atletico won the competition in 2010 and 2012, and have lost in two Champions League finals since.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone is suspended for the match in Lyon after being sent to the stands against Arsenal, so assistant German Burgos will take charge of the team from the sidelines.
Atletico defender Filipe Luis has been named in the squad after recovering from a broken ankle, while winger Vitolo is also available after a hamstring complaint.
Marseille manager Rudi Garcia is also expecting to have a full-strength squad at his disposal, despite concerns over Payet (thigh), Rolando (calf), Kostas Mitroglou (hamstring) and Bouna Sarr (dislocated shoulder).
This will be the first meeting between Marseille and Atletico Madrid in European competition since 2008-09 when the Spaniards went unbeaten against them in the Champions League group stage (W1 D1).
Les Olympians are aiming to be the first French team to win a major European competition since 1995-96 when Paris St-Germain beat Rapid Vienna in the Cup Winners’ Cup.
This will be Diego Simeone’s fourth major European final since taking charge at Atletico in 2011-12 – the Argentine has lost both of his Champions League finals but did win his only previous Europa League final in 2011-12.
Since the start of the 2013-14 campaign, Spanish clubs have won seven of the possible eight Champions League and Europa League trophies combined, with Manchester United’s win in this competition last season being the only exception.
In games played away from their home ground – the Orange Velodrome – Marseille have kept just one clean sheet in 16 games in the Europa League.
Dimitri Payet has made seven assists in 11 appearances in the Europa League this term; the most of any player in the competition.
Antoine Griezmann has had a hand in more goals than any other Atletico Madrid player in European competition this season (10 – six goals and four assists), including a goal and an assist in their 2-1 aggregate win over Arsenal in the semi-finals.
No team has been shown more yellow cards (30) or red cards (3) than Marseille in this season’s Europa League.