News | Jason Pettigrove

FCPS vs Marseille Match Preview

MATCH PREVIEW: FC PINZGAU SAALFELDEN v OLYMPIQUE DE MARSEILLE

On Sunday July 19, Ligue 1 runners-up Olympique de Marseille will head to picturesque Kufstein as part of their 2020/21 pre-season preparations to face FC Pinzgau Saalfelden. Although ‘David v Goliath’ type soccer games are becoming few and far between these days, the occasional match pops up and really piques the interest. FC Pinzgau v Olympique de Marseille certainly falls into that category.

The Christian Ziege-led Pinzgau are looking to continue from where they left off in March, exhibiting the style for which the ex-German international was renowned in his playing career. If there’s one feature that’s marked out Ziege’s short time at the club, it’s the freedom of expression that he gives his players.

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The enjoyment is there for all to see, but with a competitive edge that propelled FCPS to the verge of the league play-offs before lockdown. It’s precisely that purposeful and positive way of playing that Ziege will be looking for against André Villas-Boas’ well-drilled outfit. Staying on the front-foot will be essential to dictate the pace and direction of the game, but that may be easier said than done against one of the most storied teams in European soccer.

Marseille are former European Cup winners, nine-times French league champions, ten-times French Cup winners, three-times French League Cup winners and twice winners of the French Super Cup. Those to have worn the famous shirt are many; Didier Deschamps, Jean-Pierre Papin, Fabien Barthez, Chris Waddle, Didier Drogba, Laurent Blanc, Eric Cantona, Franck Ribéry, Gabriel Heinze, Abedi Pele, Alen Bokšić, Rudi Völler, André-Pierre Gignac and more… it’s like a roll call of some of the best to have ever played the game.

Though they haven’t quite hit the heights of their halcyon days in recent times, Les Phocéens still present a formidable obstacle for any team to overcome, particularly one looking to make its own mark and put a stamp on Austrian soccer. It’s precisely this juxtaposition that makes this fixture so romantic and a throwback to times gone by, and those lucky enough to be in attendance will surely remember it for decades to come.

TEAM NEWS

It’s not unfair to suggest that FCPS are still smarting from the double whammy of not being able to take part in the Regionalliga West play-off or the Austrian Cup. The sense of injustice will almost certainly be used as a driver by Christian Ziege to fire up his squad, though on this occasion they’ll need no extra motivation. Just one loss at home and another away in their 2019/20 campaign has given everyone at FC Pinzgau the confidence that the club are heading in the right direction both on and off the pitch. Marseille will find a strong defensive unit in front of them, and one that conceded more than once on only two occasions throughout the whole of last season.

Twice champions of the Salzburger Liga in 2010/11 and 2013/14, the club will be looking to continue their good form from last term, and to that end, the experience of elder statesman and captain, Tamás Tandari, will be crucial in this game. Playing at the base of the midfield he will provide essential cover for FCPS’ centre-backs, but he also has the vision to switch play as necessary and the ability to play balls into the channels for the wide men to run onto. If they can get in behind Marseille’s full-backs, the hosts could profit.

Christian Ziege will have a number of new faces to look at against the French league runners-up, and it’s likely to be one of the toughest tests that this young group of players will undertake.

Team from: Colic, Heller, Regitnig, Steinbauer, Ziege, Valentine, Mühlbacher, Streitwieser, Jatta, Tandari, Raischl, Gadenstätter, Herzog, Rathgeb, Seiler, Fürstaller, Kirschner, Cooksley, Kanakimana, Stegmann, Gvozdjar, Ollert and Moosmann

THE OPPOSITION

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For André Villas-Boas, he’ll get a good chance to see how fresh his charges are after those few months in lockdown. He’s expected to play a strong squad with players such as Dimitri Payet and Kevin Strootman, who were really in the groove before the season was suspended, champing at the bit to get going again.

Although Marseille were a long way from being the highest scorers in Ligue 1 last season (41 compared to PSG’s 75), they were, nevertheless, also incredibly hard to beat. Of their 28 domestic games played, OM lost only four, with only one of those coming after November 2019.

Most of their attacks generally come from the right side, with Valère Germain supplying the bullets in Villas-Boas’ preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Bouna Sarr is a consistent threat on the overlap too, so FCPS’ Harald Empl will have his work cut-out. Darío Benedetto plundered a hat-trick against Nimes in one of the last games before the campaign was curtailed, and as a willing runner up front, often with little reward, his intelligent movement will open up the channels for Dimitri Payet to wreak havoc.

At the back, Duje Caleta-Car and Álvaro González are a solid pairing, ensuring that Steve Mandanda’s goal was breached just 29 times in 2019/20.

Team from: Mandanda, Pelé, Dia, Ngapandouetnbu, Kamara, Caleta-Car, Perrin, Amavi, Rocchia, Sarr, Sakai, Mohamed, Richard, Strootman, Sertic, Phliponeau, Ahmed, Sanson, Rongier, López, Souare, Bertelli, Khaoui, Chabrolle, Rahou, Payet, Radonjic, Aké, Thauvin, Benedetto, Germain and Mitroglou

LAST FIVE MATCHES

FCPS 1-0 Salzburg Marseille 2-2 Amiens

Bischofshofen 0-4 FCPS Nimes 2-3 Marseille

FCPS 0-1 SAK 1914 Marseille 1-3 Nantes

Kuchl 2-3 FCPS Lille 1-2 Marseille

FCPS 1-1 Seekirchen Lyon 1-0 Marseille

A MESSAGE FROM FC PINZGAU CEO MARK CIOCIOLA

“The opportunity to play such a storied club like Marseille is something that FCPS is really looking forward to. For our staff, our players, our fans and especially our fan owners. Being able to bring such a match to the States via streaming, and for all of our new fan owners to be able to see their club face off against the European giants is unique and a real thrill.

We will be bringing all of the behind the scenes content leading up to this match to our fan owners, giving them a sneak peek and an understanding of what goes into putting a game of this magnitude together. For everybody that has been involved with the club, all of the staff, coaches and front office and especially the players who have worked really hard, this game is their reward.

FCPS is bigger than any one individual of course, and together the collective have worked tirelessly for this opportunity. I’m truly grateful. The staging of this match is a testament to what can be achieved and is deservedly dedicated to everybody that has played a part in the running of FCPS over the years.”