High flying French giants Marseille come into the Europa Conference League for the first time in their history on Thursday. The Ligue 1 side are currently second in France, but will be looking to take charge of their playoff tie against Qarabag this week.
Europa Conference League Preview
Marseille would certainly be disappointed to be playing in the Europa Conference League in the second half of the season, as they would have felt that they had a great chance of going deep in the Europa League. The French side eventually finished third in Group E to drop into the Europa Conference League.
They finished two points behind Lazio, who finished second, and were five points off eventual group winners, Galatasaray. Marseille won just once in six outings in the Europa League, with their only victory coming at home against Lokomotiv Moscow. They will need to be much better in the Europa Conference League this week.
However, it could be fair to say that they may put extra emphasis on their league performances, and they are firmly in the frame to finish in a Champions League position this term. That means a number of changes could be made for this first leg.
Qarabag will have the added advantage of having the second leg at home in this tie, and will likely be relishing the challenge ahead of them. The club from Azerbaijan sailed through in Group H, as they finished second behind Basel. They were just three points behind the eventual group winners.
The significant defeat came against Basel, as they were beaten 3-0 on the road. However, that was their only defeat in six Europa Conference League group stage fixtures. They scored an impressive ten goals, but allowed eight. This is a much tougher task, and being defensively solid is essential if they are to take a positive result.
Marseille vs Qarabag Head to Head
Qarabag and Marseille haven’t previously met in any European competition. The fixture on Thursday will be the first showdown between the sides.
Marseille vs Qarabag Prediction
It is an interesting playoff tie in the Europa Conference League this week. Qarabag were impressive in the first half of the campaign, while Marseille have certainly looked like they are prioritising their Ligue 1 campaign over the European competitions. I think the hosts will make changes once again for this fixture, which means I like the chances of a score draw.
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