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.