If a coach who had seen his side go eight games without a win was afforded the opportunity to pick his team’s next opponents, it is highly unlikely they would select Bayern Munich.
Indeed, on current form the German giants would only have Barcelona and Real Madrid for company down at the bottom of the list.
Unfortunately for Didier Deschamps, who has watched his Marseille side slump to seven defeats (including an extra time loss to third division outfit Quevilly in the Coupe de France) and a draw in their last eight matches, the Champions League quarter-final line-up sees his side pitted against Bayern and the two teams meet in the first leg at Stade Velodrome this evening.
Bayern have not been wholly convincing all season, particularly away from home, with their form on their travels leaving them trailing leaders and defending champions Borussia Dortmund by five points in the Bundesliga table.
In fact, since the turn of the year, Jupp Heynckes’ men have won just two of their eight matches on the road.
With Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben in sparkling form going forward – Gomez has nine goals in his last five appearances, Robben has seven – a bet on the former (at evens) or the latter (at 7/5) to score at anytime is unlikely to be wasted.
However, their recent results suggest they are getting back to their domineering best and, with Marseille in a state of disarray, they look set to follow Chelsea and Real Madrid in winning away from home in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
The four times European champions are certainly favourites to win over the course of the two legs at 4/25, with Marseille at 15/4 to reach the last four.
And Bayern are also odds-on to win the first leg at 3/4 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, with a Marseille victory on the night at 17/5 and a draw at 27/10.
If there is a cause for concern for Bayern, it is that Marseille recorded a double success over their Bundesliga rivals Dortmund in the group stages.
L’OM followed up a 3-0 home success at Stade Velodrome with a 3-2 victory at the Westfalenstadion, with these results suggesting they enjoy playing against German opposition.
These were certainly unusual results as in general, Didier Deschamps likes to keep things tight, with Marseille’s 1-0 home win over Inter in the first leg of the last round a more typical result.
Despite their poor run of form, L’OM are still the joint-fourth best defensive side in Ligue 1 and ten of their 15 league matches at the Stade Velodrome have featured under 2.5 goals.
Five of their seven Champions League matches this season have also seen under 2.5 goals, suggesting this could be a good bet for this evening’s game at odds of 87/100.
But Bayern have been scoring for fun of late and goals should not be ruled out, particularly as Marseille are likely to be low on confidence given their poor run of form.
Having gone three games without scoring on the road – including a 1-0 defeat to Basel in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie – Bayern bounced back with 7-1 and 7-0 home wins over Hoffenheim and Basel respectively and a 6-0 away success over Hertha.
An extra time victory over high-flying Borussia Monchengladbach and a 2-1 win over Hannover followed, setting Heynckes’ men up nicely for a trip to the south of France.
With this in mind, Bayern look well placed to inflict more misery on Marseille, and with Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben in sparkling form going forward – Gomez has nine goals in his last five appearances, Robben has seven – a bet on the former (at evens) or the latter (at 7/5) to score at anytime is unlikely to be wasted.
All this points to Bayern taking a big stride towards qualification for the semi-finals this evening – and a possible meeting with Real Madrid – making the away side to win by at least two goals a tempting option at 19/10.
A successful £25 free bet on Bayern Munich to beat Marseille by at least two goals is set to return £72.50, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Recommended bet: Bayern to win despite 1-0 handicap in Marseille’s favour @ 19/10
New customers can register here to claim a free £25 bet or click here to see all our Champions League odds.
Follow us on Twitter @bwinbetting