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UEFA Champions League

  • February 22, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
  • Referee: C. Çakιr
  • • Attendance: 37646
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Olympique de Marseille - Inter Preview: Ranieri under pressure as struggling Nerazzurri meet rampant OM in Champions League

Olympique de Marseille - Inter Preview: Ranieri under pressure as struggling Nerazzurri meet rampant 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.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
30Steve MandandaGoalkeeper
28César AzpilicuetaDefender
3N. N'KoulouDefender
15Jérémy MorelDefender
21Souleymane DiawaraDefender
23Alou DiarraMidfielder
7Benoît CheyrouMidfielder
18Morgan AmalfitanoMidfielder
28Mathieu ValbuenaMidfielder
10André AyewStriker
9BrandaoStriker
1Gennaro BraciglianoGoalkeeper
18Djimi TraoreDefender
24Rod FanniDefender
26Jean-Philippe SaboDefender
-Charles KaboréMidfielder
9André Pierre GignacStriker
15Jordan AyewStriker
1Julio CésarGoalkeeper
4Javier ZanettiDefender
33LúcioDefender
13MaiconDefender
-Walter SamuelDefender
26Cristian ChivuDefender
10Dejan StankovicMidfielder
10Wesley SneijderMidfielder
5Esteban CambiassoMidfielder
10M. ZárateStriker
10Diego ForlánStriker
-Luca CastellazziGoalkeeper
23Andrea RanocchiaDefender
55Yuto NagatomoDefender
20J. ObiMidfielder
16Andrea PoliMidfielder
11Giampaolo PazziniStriker
22Diego MilitoStriker
Players to Watch
Mathieu Valbuena
Mathieu Valbuena
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 28
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
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.
Diego Milito
Diego Milito
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 22
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The 32-year-old struggled heavily at the start of the season, but has 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.
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.
Editor's Prediction
Inter 1

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