Olympiacos v Marseille preview

Five matches into the new Ligue 1 season, Marseille – champions
just two seasons ago and runners-up last term – remain winless with
a record of three draws and two defeats, the latest a 1-0 reverse
to Rennes that has left the Mediterranean club just above the drop
zone. OM’s poor start means they have now gone eight Ligue 1 games
without a win dating back to the end of last season – their worst
ever run under Deschamps. The loss to Rennes again highlighted the
extent to which confidence has drained from the team, and Deschamps
admits there were worrying signs on display at the weekend. “When
they scored, we looked fragile,” said Deschamps. “Of course, it’s
hardly ideal in terms of confidence ahead of the Champions League.
We have to get over our disappointment to be ready for the best
competition in Europe. “We have to show solidarity and
determination to turn things round.” A win in their Group F
curtain-raiser in Greece on Tuesday night would be as good a place
as any to begin their revival, particularly as their hosts have yet
to kick a ball in anger this season. Olympiacos’ first two Super
League matches were postponed after their scheduled opponents,
Kavala and Olympiacos Volou, were relegated to the fourth tier
owing to match-fixing offences. The reigning Greek champions’ last
competitive outing came against Larissa in April, and Ernesto
Valverde’s ring-rusty troops could be the perfect opposition for a
Marseille side desperate for a win. Yet even if the home players
are below their best, Olympiacos’ passionate home support at the
Karaiskakis Stadium will doubtless be on hand to give the visitor
their customary hostile welcome – although OM midfielder Benoit
Cheyrou insists he and his team-mates will not be fazed by the hot
reception. “We know what to expect there but for a player it is
more motivating to play even in hostile environments,” he said. “It
does not bother me and no one is afraid to play there.” Injuries
could yet scupper French hopes, however, with Stephane Mbia out
with a broken metatarsal and doubts over the fitness of influential
duo Mathieu Valbuena (knee) and Andre Ayew (groin). For the hosts,
Ariel Ibagaza is out after knee surgery, although Avraam
Papadopoulos, Francisco Yeste, Olof Mellberg and Rafik Djebbour are
expected to shake off knocks in time to feature.