OM will face either Ukrainian club Dnipro or Greek Panathinaikos in the third qualifying round

In case of victory, the better of the two matches, the Olympians will reach the play-offs, hoping to play in C1.



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Olympique de Marseille's star debutant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the friendly match against KAS Eupen, July 22, 2023 (DAVID ROSSI / MAXPPP)

Marseille know their first opponent on the way to the Champions League. The draw made on Monday 24 July still offered some uncertainty to the recent 3rd in Ligue 1 with the winner of Dnipro-Panathinaikos opponents in the 3rd qualifying round, on 8-9 and 15-16 August. The two teams face off on Tuesday 25 July, then 1 August.

Favorite on paper, OM could still have benefited from a theoretically more “affordable” poster. If new manager Marcelino’s men could have inherited Austrian side Strum Graz or Serbian side TSC Backa Topola, they will have to be wary of their next opponent, whoever that may be. SK Dnipro is a very recent club, created only in 2017 but with a surprising rise in Ukrainian football. Vice-champions last season, the club also discovered the European Cup by playing in the Europa League Conference, eliminated in the play-offs after finishing second in their group. Marseille’s trip would then take place in Slovakia, with Dnipro forced to evolve in Kosice in the European cups due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Panathinaikos have a much richer history and have returned to the top of Greek football in recent months. After five seasons of wanderings and financial difficulties, the Athens-based team returned to the championship podium last year, missing out on the title in the last two matchdays. The “Pana” had also found Europe, losing in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.

For OM, this already crucial match for their season will be a good testing ground to measure themselves, after a hectic summer, between the departures of coach Igor Tudor, or that of Dimitri Payet made official last Friday, while Gabonese star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, or former French international Geoffrey Kondogbia have joined Marseille.

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