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UEFA Champions League

  • 22 February 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
  • Referee: C. Çakιr
  • • Attendance: 37646
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Olympique de Marseille - Inter Preview: Claudio Ranieri under pressure as his side meets in-form OM in Champions League

Olympique de Marseille - Inter Preview: Claudio Ranieri under pressure as his side meets in-form OM in Champions League

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Two teams heading in different directions clash on Wednesday evening at Stade Velodrome, with the Italian coach under plenty of scrutiny after a poor run of domestic results


PROBABLE LINEUPS

MARSEILLE


Mandanda
Azpilicueta, Diawara, Nkoulou, Morel
Kabore, Cheyrou
Amalfitano, Valbuena, A. Ayew
Brandao
INTER


Julio Cesar
Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo
Zanetti, Palombo, Cambiasso, Poli
Sneijder
Milito

The biggest blow for Marseille boss Didier Deschamps is the absence of France international attacker Loic Remy, who suffered a hamstring injury and will not be available for the first leg. However, striker Andre-Pierre Gignac has resumed training and may start on the bench after missing the 1-1 draw with Valenciennes.

The versatile Stephane Mbia is unlikely to feature despite being close to a comeback to full fitness. Alou Diarra picked up a knock and was substituted at half-time on the weekend, but there is an outside chance he could recover in time and retain his place as one of the two defensive midfielders for the clash in France.

Meanwhile, Inter coach Claudio Ranieri will be looking to halt his side's slide and has nearly a full squad available as centre-back Walter Samuel is expected to return after recovering from a thigh strain to line up alongside Lucio. Meanwhile, midfielder Dejan Stankovic and striker Diego Milito seem to have overcome bouts of flu that kept them out of the 3-0 loss to Bologna.

Ranieri hinted that playmaker Wesley Sneijder could be dropped to the press, but the Dutchman has been included in the 22-man match squad while Ricky Alvarez has been left out.

The Serie A side also revised their Champions League squad list after the winter break, so striker Diego Forlan, as well as midfielders Angelo Palombo and Andrea Poli are all now ready and hoping to make their European debuts for the club.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Marseille, despite being held to a 1-1 draw with Valenciennes on Saturday, have won 12 of their last 15 matches going into this first leg clash.
  • Deschamps' Monaco defeated Ranieri's Chelsea in the semi-finals of the 2003-04 Champions League, the former losing in the final to Jose Mourinho's Porto.
  • OM have a balanced record against Italian sides (W5 D4 L5) over 14 encounters.
  • Inter have lost five of their last six matches in all competitions, only scoring during the 4-4 draw with Palermo.
  • Forlan has scored just once in 11 Serie A appearances since joining the Italian club during the summer from Atletico Madrid.
  • The last time these sides met in Europe, Inter were defeated by OM in the quarter-finals of the 2003-04 Uefa Cup by a 2-0 aggregate score.

Players to watch

M. Valbuena

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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The diminutive Frenchman's last-gasp wonder goal on the final day of the group stage that allowed Marseille to win against Borussia Dortmund propelled his side into the last 16 and he will have even more attacking responsibility on his shoulders now with the absence of the sidelined Remy.

D. Milito

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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The 32-year-old struggled heavily at the start of the season, but has recently been able to find the back of the net on a regular basis following his initial troubles. Inter will be hoping that he can add to his tally of nine goals in his last nine matches and refind the form that made him instrumental in their victorious Champions League campaign of 2009-10.

Editor's Prediction

While OM have been on a good run as of late, they have often been unable to produce positive results on home soil in big matches this season - losing to Arsenal and Olympiakos in Europe and recently drawing 2-2 with Lyon on the domestic stage. OM will be favourites, but Inter have shown resolve in the Champions League this season and could grind out a result away from home.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Olympique Marseille

Internazionale

Wins
3
0
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Olympique de Marseille MAR
Olympique de Marseille Olympique Marseille
Draw
FC Internazionale Milano INT
FC Internazionale Milano Internazionale
35%
53%

Top 3 Predictions

Olympique de Marseille MAR
1 - 2
FC Internazionale Milano INT
Olympique de Marseille MAR
0 - 2
FC Internazionale Milano INT
Olympique de Marseille MAR
2 - 1
FC Internazionale Milano INT

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