Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Watch Atletico Madrid vs Marseille Live Online

The Europa League final is almost here. In Lyon, France, French club Marseille takes on Atletico Madrid. Atleti got by Arsenal in the semifinals but Marseille was taken to extra time by Red Bull Salzburg, scoring in the extra session to move on. A major trophy, but for Marseille even more. They have two ways to qualify for next season's Champions League -- by winning this tournament or by finishing third in France, where they are currently fourth and a point behind. Atletico Madrid is already qualified for next season's Champions League. There's a lot on the line in this one, more so for the French side, but both teams will be determined to potentially lift their only trophy of the season.Atletico Madrid's defense is just out of this world, and it's challenging to see how Marseille can win this even with Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin in fine form. But the proud French club is playing in its home country, so it should have plenty of support. But Atletico, in the end, is too sharp to lose. Atletico 2, Marseille 0.Atletico Madrid is the overwhelming favorite to win the Europa League for the third time. The latest odds have Atletico at -250 and Olympique Marseilles +250.

Atletico won the inaugural Europa League in 2010 after the competition superseded the UEFA Cup and won again in 2012.

Over the last five seasons, Atletico ranks as the second-best team in European competition according to the UEFA coefficient rankings with only Real Madrid better.It is not surprising that Real Madrid holds an edge given that they have been Atletico’s nemesis. Real Madrid has knocked off Atletico in the Champions League in each of the last four seasons – the final 2014, 2016, quarter-final 2015 and semi-final 2017.

Atletico was expected to go deep into this season's Champions League as well but stumbled at the group stage finishing behind Chelsea and Roma. A third-place finish relegated Atleti to the Europa League.

In the knock stages, Atletico cruised past Copenhagen and Lokomotiv Moscow before encountering stiffer opposition from Sporting Lisbon and Arsenal.

Atletico’s parsimonious defense has only allowed 4 goals in 8 games while scoring 17. In eight games Atleti lost just once.

There was no Champions League shortcut for Olympique Marseille. The French team had to win qualifying and playoff games before finishing with an unimpressive 2-2-2 record in the group stage.

Braga, Athletic Bilbao, RP Leipzig and upstart Red Bull Salzburg (after extra time) were dispatched with Olympique Marseille scoring 16 and allowing eight. Olympique Marseille lost three of the eight matches.

Olympique Marseilles will be aware of the outstanding record of Spanish clubs records in European finals as opposed to the dire performances down the years when French teams have reached the deciding game.

In the European Cup/Champions League Finals, Spanish teams have appeared in 28 finals (not counting this season) and won 17 times. Of the 11 times, a team from Spain has finished as a runner-up, three times it was an all-Spain final.

Spain’s record UEFA Cup/Europa League is equally impressive – 15 appearances with 10 wins and 5 defeats. This century Spanish teams have won the trophy 8 times and runners-up three times. Twice the runners-up have been beaten by another Spanish team.

On the other hand, a French team has only ever lifted either of these European club trophies once and that was Olympique Marseille in 1993.

But even that was somewhat tainted by domestic match-fixing and Olympique Marseille was not allowed to defend the Champions League the next season.

Five times (Reims 56, 59), St. Etienne (76), Olympique Marseille (91), and Monaco (04) have lost in a European Cup/Champions League Final while French teams have lost all 4 times they have made it to the last game in the UEFA Cup/Europa League.

Bastia (78), Bordeaux (96) and Olympique Marseille (99 and 04) have all failed to clear the last hurdle.

Cumulatively Spain 43 finalists and 27 wins, 16 losses; France 9 finalists and 1 win and 4 losses.

(PSG won the now defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1996, were runners-up in 1997 as were Monaco in 1992. Spanish teams had 7 wins, 7 losses record in the tournament.)

Winning the Europa League offers Olympique Marseille the best route to next seasons Champions League. France receives two automatic group spots for 2018/19 and another team will have a chance through the qualifying and playoff route.

Olympique Marseille sits fourth and needs to win its last game and Monaco (2nd) and/or Lyon to stumble badly to move into one of the three Champions League spots.

Atletico is already assured of a group spot in next season’s Champions League 32-team group stage.