Victorious when these two teams met in the 2015/16 round of 32, Athletic Club have their work cut out to repeat the feat in this season’s round of 16 following their 3-1 first-leg defeat at Marseille.

• Runners-up to Salzburg in the group stage, Marseille overcame Braga 3-1 on aggregate in the round of 32 thanks to a first-leg 3-0 win at home in which Valère Germain struck twice.

• Athletic, who topped Group J in the autumn, also laid the foundation for their round of 32 success in the first leg, winning 3-1 at Spartak Moskva with a couple of goals from the competition’s leading scorer this season Aritz Aduriz, before losing the second leg 1-2 in Bilbao.

Previous meetings
• Marseille went ahead in the first leg at the Stade Vélodrome after just 44 seconds when Lucas Ocampos deftly converted from close range. The Argentinian later completed the scoring after OM skipper Dimitri Payet had doubled his team’s lead with a fierce volley and Aduriz had reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time from the penalty spot.

• The clubs’ only previous official encounters came in the 2015/16 round of 32. Athletic won the first leg 1-0 at the Stade Vélodrome with a spectacular Aduriz strike, sealing qualification after a 1-1 draw in Bilbao.


Highlights: Marseille 3-1 Athletic

• Athletic’s four home games against visitors from France have brought one win, two draws and a defeat. The draw with Marseille two years ago was the last such encounter.

• Marseille have never won in six visits to Spain, that draw in Bilbao ending a run of four successive defeats. In the midst of that sequence they were also defeated 2-0 by Valencia on neutral terrain in the 2004 UEFA Cup final in Gothenburg.

Form guide
• Athletic’s last ten European home games have yielded eight wins, the exceptions a 1-0 defeat by Zorya Luhansk in this season’s group stage and their round of 32 loss against Spartak.

• They have won both of the previous UEFA Europa League round of 16 matches staged in Bilbao – 2-1 against Manchester United in 2011/12 (5-3 on aggregate) and 1-0 against Valencia in 2015/16 (2-2 on aggregate, winning on away goals).

• Seventh in Spain last term, Athletic are taking part in European competition for a fourth successive season – their longest unbroken sequence since the mid-1980s. Losing finalists in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup (to Juventus) and the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League (to Atlético Madrid), they reached this season’s group stage after overcoming Dinamo Bucureşti (1-1 away, 3-0 home) and Panathinaikos (3-2 away, 1-0 home) in the qualifying phase.

Lucas Ocampos after scoring for Marseille in the first leg


Lucas Ocampos after scoring for Marseille in the first leg©AFP/Getty Images

• Marseille are without an away victory in seven European encounters (D4 L3), scoring just three goals over that period but conceding only six.

• UEFA Cup runners-up in 1998/99 and 2003/04, and quarter-finalists in 2008/09, Marseille are competing in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 for the second time. They were defeated 3-2 on aggregate by Benfica at this juncture in 2009/10 (1-1 away, 1-2 home).

• Marseille finished fifth in last season’s Ligue 1 and entered the UEFA Europa League in the third qualifying round, where they defeated Belgium’s Oostende 4-2 on aggregate before getting the better of Slovenian side Domžale in the play-offs (4-1).

• Athletic have lost the first leg away in 22 UEFA competition ties and come back to win 13 of them, including seven of the last eight. However, on the one such occasion when they succumbed 3-1 on the road, against Beveren in the second round of the 1986/87 UEFA Cup, they went out despite winning 2-1 in Bilbao.

• Marseille have won 13 of the 19 UEFA competition ties in which they have claimed a home first-leg lead, most recently in this season’s round of 32 against Braga. On the one previous occasion they won the home first leg 3-1, against Zenit in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16, they lost the return 2-0 and were eliminated on away goals.

Captain Dimitri Payet scores OM's second goal in the first game


Captain Dimitri Payet scores OM’s second goal in the first game©AFP/Getty Images

Links and trivia
• Both Athletic and Marseille began this season’s UEFA Europa League in the third qualifying round.

• This will be Athletic’s 61st game in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final; only Villarreal, with 62, have played more. Athletic’s all-time tally of 99 goals scored is also only bettered by Villarreal (104).

• Markel Susaeta became only the second player – after Daniel Carriço – to make 50 UEFA Europa League appearances, group stage to final, when he skippered Athletic in the first leg at the Stade Vélodrome. He is the first to reach the half-century with a single club.

• Athletic’s Raúl García was a 2009/10 UEFA Europa League winner with Atlético Madrid.

• Aduriz top-scored in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League, with ten goals, and is the second-highest all-time marksman in the competition proper – after 30-goal Radamel Falcao – with 26. He has eight goals in the current campaign, making him the leading scorer once again.

• Marseille were one of only three clubs – alongside Lyon and Dortmund – to come through their round of 32 tie after playing the first leg at home.

• Adil Rami, a starter in all 13 of Marseille’s European encounters this term, won the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League with Sevilla, starting seven matches including the final against Liverpool.

• Rami made over 100 Liga appearances for Valencia and Sevilla. He faced Athletic six times during his time in Spain, including twice for Sevilla in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League quarter-final.

• Marseille’s Aymen Abdennour made 35 Liga appearances for Valencia between 2015 and 2017. He faced Athletic once, in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg, losing 1-0.

• Marseille are one of three UEFA Champions League winners in the round of 16 – together with AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.

Penalty shoot-outs
• Athletic’s record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W0 L2:
3-5 v CFR Cluj, 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup second round
4-5 v Sevilla, 2015/16 UEFA Europa League quarter-final

• Marseille’s record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L1:
3-5 v Crvena zvezda, 1990/91 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final
4-1 v Germinal Beerschot, 2005/06 UEFA Cup first round
7-6 v FC Twente, 2008/09 UEFA Cup round of 32

The coaches
• Better known as ‘Cuco’, José Ángel Ziganda was a forward for Osasuna and Athletic Club who also won two caps for Spain and later guided the Pamplona side to the 2006/07 UEFA Cup semi-finals as coach. He was handed the Athletic job in May 2017, as the replacement for Barcelona-bound Ernesto Valverde, following a six-year spell as the Basque club’s B team boss.

• Marseille coach since October 2016, Rudi Garcia started out as a midfielder at Lille, returning to lead the club from 2008–13 and masterminding their Ligue 1/Coupe de France double triumph in 2010/11. He subsequently spent three seasons in charge of Roma, leading the Giallorossi to back-to-back runners-up spots in Serie A.


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