After a long and exciting European soccer season, we are now drawing towards the close of multiple competitions. The EPL wrapped up on the weekend and the FA Cup and Champions League Finals are just around the corner. This week we also get the Europa League Final between Marseille and Atletico Madrid, which promises to be an exciting affair! We preview the big game and give our tips below.
Atletico Madrid started their 2018 European Campaign in the Champions League but after failing to make the knockout stage in their tough group alongside Chelsea and Roma, they were forced into the Europa League knockout stage where they won a seed in the 32 team bracket.
Atletico Madrid road to the final:
defeated Copenhagen 5-1 aggregate
defeated Lokomotiv Moscow 8-1 aggregate
defeated Sporting Lisbon 2-1 aggreagate
defeated Arsenal 2-1 aggregate
Atletico only lost one game throughout the knockout phase, a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sporting Lisbon away from home. They were fantastic at their new home ground, the Wanda Metropolitano throughout the tournament, managing to keep four clean sheets in their four home games in the knockout phase.
While they have already qualified for next season’s Champions League with a high placed finish in the domestic competition, they will be keen to add a piece of silverware to their 2017-18 trophy case, after finishing second in the La Liga to Barcelona.
Marseille made it to the Europa League final through the conventional route, finishing second in Group I behind FC Red Bull Salzburg and in front of Konyaspor and Vitoria Guimaraes.
Marseille road to the final:
defeated Braga 3-1 aggregate
defeated Athletic Bilbao 5-2 aggregate
defeated RB Leipzig 5-3 aggregate
defeated Red Bull Salzburg 3-2 aggregate
Marseille have had a fantastic year in the French domestic competition, currently sitting fourth on the table just one-point behind Lyon. They will be keen to propel themselves into the top three to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but they can also qualify with a win over Madrid in the final.
This will be the first time the two teams have met in European competition since the 2008/09 season, when Atletico won one game and drew the other in the Champions League group stage. Atletico Madrid have been unstoppable at home, but Marseille will have the advantage of the crowd here as they face off at Stades des Lumieres, the home ground of French opponents Lyon.
Marseille start as heavy underdogs here and I actually love them to lift the trophy with the somewhat home crowd at their back.
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