Preview: Marseille vs. Reims

Preview: Marseille vs. Reims

Marseille and Reims will open their 2023-24 Ligue 1 accounts when they lock horns at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday afternoon.

Despite losing four of their final five games, Marseille finished third last season, while Will Still’s Reims finished 11th – 23 points shy of Saturday’s hosts.

Marseille head into the opening weekend of the Ligue 1 season on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Greek side Panathinaikos, meaning that Les Olympiens have it all to do in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier next week.

Following Geoffrey Kondogbia’s red card midway through the second half, former Brazil and Everton winger Bernard came off the bench to score an 83rd-minute winner, with both sides registering a solitary attempt on target in Athens.

Wednesday’s clash was new manager Marcelino’s first game in charge of Marseille following the departure of Igor Tudor, who parted ways with OM at the end of the previous campaign after guiding the club to third.

Marseille enjoyed plenty of success under Tudor, suffering only two defeats in 21 league outings between October 2022 and April 2023, although they ended up losing four of their final five matches to surrender an automatic Champions League berth.

Marcelino oversaw a mediocre pre-season, defeating Nimes and RKC Waalwijk while losing to Eupen and Bayer Leverkusen, so the Spaniard will be eager to hit the ground running in Ligue 1 and get the fans on board.

Reims, meanwhile, won five of their six pre-season friendlies to reignite optimism at the Stade Auguste-Delaune, as the Red and Whites pushed for Europe last term before ending the campaign on a sour note.

After losing to Eupen, the Marne outfit claimed successive victories over Charleroi, Amines, Getafe, Real Zaragoza and Torino, scoring at least two goals on four occasions, although they only managed to keep one clean sheet.

Under the guidance of highly-rated manager Will Still, Reims recorded a remarkable 19-game unbeaten streak in Ligue 1 between October 2022 and March 2023, picking up nine wins and 10 draws along the way.

The Red and Whites climbed as high as seventh place last term, enabling their fans to dream of European football, but Still’s men failed to finish the campaign on a high, losing seven of their final 11 matches while achieving just two wins.

It is also worth noting that Reims managed to win only four of their 19 away league outings last season, recording nine draws and six losses, while only two sides – relegated Angers and Ajaccio – scored fewer goals on the road in 2022-23.

Marseille form (all competitions):

Reims form (all competitions):

We say: Marseille 2-1 Reims
Despite Wednesday’s defeat in Greece, we expect Marseille to kick-start their Ligue 1 campaign with a narrow victory over Reims, who registered one of the worst away records in the French top flight last season.

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