Olympique Marseille vs SL Benfica preview, team news, tickets & prediction

Olympique Marseille welcomes SL Benfica for the all-important second leg of their 2023/24 UEFA Europa League quarter-final. Here is a preview. 

Olympique Marseille will lock horns with Benfica to determine who advances to the last four of what is shaping up to be an exciting Europa League campaign. 

Marseille will be hoping to finish off the Portuguese champions at the Velodrome and end an eventful season on a high. It has been a long campaign with four managers in the space of a year and the French side would love nothing more than a fairytale run in Europe’s second-tier competition. 

Marcelino lasted only 81 days in charge following an unconvincing start to the season which saw them amass nine points from their first five league games.

A 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain proved the final straw as Gennaro Gattuso was appointed to ignite their hopes for the campaign. L’OM lost the next game to Monaco but they won two and drew two of the following six Ligue 1 games.

Marseille also produced three wins, a draw, and a defeat in the rest of the Europa League campaign to finish runners-up to Brighton in Group B as they advanced to the knockout playoffs against Shakhtar Donetsk. Yet, they failed to win any of the next seven league matches.

Following a 1-0 defeat to Brest, Gattuso was sacked after five months in charge to be replaced by Jean-Louis Gasset. The former Ivory Coast manager is proving an immediate hit with the team as they delivered a second-leg win against Shakhtar Donetsk in the knockout playoffs. 

Results got even better with a five-game winning run that saw them increase their goalscoring rate. Although they lost the return leg of the Europa League Round of 16 against Villarreal, OM cruised into the quarter-finals by a 4-0 victory in the first leg.

Les Minots lost 2-0 to Rennes for their first league defeat under Gasset but they must dust themselves down and show the battling spirit and attacking verve that has characterized their recent performances.

Benfica have been far from their best in Europe this season so it is a brilliant opportunity for Marseille to end their campaign with some pride. They will be hoping the night ends with a big celebration in front of their home crowd. 

Their Portuguese counterparts got to this stage after beating Toulouse and Rangers in the knockout stage but Benfica endured a disastrous Champions League campaign that led to their demotion to the Europa League after finishing behind Real Sociedad and Inter Milan in Group D.

Roger Schmidt has come under heavy criticism and they now have a chance to change that narrative with a place in the last four against Liverpool or Atalanta. 

Benfica’s domestic campaign began with five wins on the trot but they lost the first four Champions League games against RB Salzburg, Inter Milan, and Real Sociedad. Results in the league were good but the Eagles were on the brink of an embarrassing exit from Europe until an epic 3-3 draw against Inter. 

They took a single point despite a three-goal lead at halftime but that point kept them in with a chance to play in the Europa League. Indeed, Benfica beat Salzburg 3-1 on Matchday 6 to finish above the Austrians and progress into the playoff round of the second-tier competition. 

Angel Di Maria’s last-gasp winner decided the first leg of their Playoff against Toulouse and it proved the decisive strike in the tie as the return leg ended goalless. A devastating 5-0 loss to Porto was the worst preparation for their Last 16 fixture against Rangers but they secured a 2-2 draw at home and then knocked out the Scottish side through Rafa Silva’s second-half goal in the second leg. 

Benfica are currently a single point behind league leaders Sporting Lisbon who have played a game less and they will fancy their chances of beating Marseille to enter the UEL semi-final. 

It is crucial that they cut out the lapses that have so far undermined their fortunes in continental competitions this term. 

Match tickets

The decisive game of this UEFA Europa League Quarter-final tie is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 18 April 2024 with kick-off at 8 PM UK time. Match tickets are sold on both clubs’ websites with allocation guaranteed for season ticket holders and registered members. 

The massive Stade Velodrome is expected to be full to the rafters with around 67,000 people who are desperate to witness victory for their respective clubs. This means that official ticket sources are overwhelmed with demand so supporters who want to attend the game will have to consider alternative measures. 

Marseille fans will be passionately supporting their team on the night but any traveling individuals can find their Marseille vs Benfica tickets on a ticket resale site. 

Team news

Marseille has Nadir Bilal, Samuel Gigot, Valentin Rongier and Amir Murillo currently out injured while the trio of Pape Gueye, Jean Onana, and Ulisses Garcia are not eligible to play in the Europa League. 

Juan Bernat and Alexander Bah are the only injury doubts for Benfica at the time of writing but they have every chance to be available. 


Marseille will hope to bring a respectable first leg result into this one which allows them to play with a positive mindset on home soil. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is now the Europa League’s record goalscorer and his quality is crucial to his team’s chances of reaching the semi-final. 

Olympique Marseille: López; Clauss, Mbemba, Balerdi, Merlin; Kondogbia, Veretout, Harit; Sarr, Ndiaye, Aubameyang

Benfica have a very patchy record in Europe this season so they must find the fortitude to get past their hosts here. Schmidt must hence trust his most experienced players to navigate a very important tie for the club. 

Benfica: Trubin; Aursnes, Silva, Otamendi, Bah; Luis, Neves; Di María, Silva, Neres; Cabral


This tie is hard to call given the depth of talent involved in both teams, but the first-leg result will provide an inclination into how this game goes. While Benfica may be hoping to bring any form of an advantage into this match, Marseille will look to outgun them. 

Judging by their form in continental competitions this season alone, Marseille are perhaps best placed to advance. 

Marseille 2-1 Benfica 

Manuel Esposito

Hello everyone! My name is Manuel and I've recently got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science at the University of Portsmouth. I'm raised and born in New York, and I've been a big fan of soccer my whole life. Soccer is the reason why I got my PhD in Sport and Excercise Science, and my goal with this blog is to help you improve your soccer techniques, strategies, and knowledge!

Press ESC to close