Olympique de Marseille - Inter Preview: Ranieri under pressure as struggling Nerazzurri meet rampant OM in Champions League
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
By Adam Scime
Azpilicueta, Diawara, Nkoulou, Morel
Amalfitano, Valbuena, A. Ayew
Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo
Zanetti, Palombo, Cambiasso, Poli
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.
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Top 3 Predictions
Olympique de Marseille 1-2 Inter
- 15.78 %
Olympique de Marseille 0-2 Inter
- 11.9 %
Olympique de Marseille 2-1 Inter
- 11.05 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||13 Mar 2012||Inter 2 - Olympique de Marseille 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||22 Feb 2012||Olympique de Marseille 1 - Inter 0|
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|9||André Pierre Gignac||Striker|
Times In IST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed