OM 4 - 2 KV Oostende - Germain helps take OM to the next levelthu 27 jul at 22:45
Caution was thrown to the wind by the Olympique side for this season's first official encounter. The visit by the Belgian team of KV Oostende (playing the first European match in their history on Thursday evening) to the Orange Velodrome could not be allowed to give Rudi Garcia's players the opportunity to rest on their laurels. Nevertheless, the physical and tactical training they had undertaken throughout July enabled the captain, Dimitri Payet, and his team to hit the ground running.
From the first offensive, Valère Germain was in the thick of the action. It started with a pass from Florian Thauvin on the right hand side into the box. That was all it took for OM's new striker to continue the attack, with a superb shimmy past the Oostende goal keeper to go 1-0 up in the second minute.
In this early stage of the match, the Belgian team was very much on the back foot. Valère Germain was already in everyone's good graces when he handed shot to Dimitri Payet on a plate. The Marseille captain saw his shot deflected to the corner by Proto (8').
The Belgians were already sorely tested and tried, as best they could, to get back in the game. They managed it and, against the run of play, managed a penalty following a contentious skirmish with Florian Thauvain. Siani hit the back of the net, catching Steve Mananda on the wrong foot to make it 1-1 after 26 minutes.
From the touchlines, Rudi Garcia's gestured wildly to bring his players together. The effect of his instructions was instant because, in the action that followed, Valère Germain, flirting with the offside rule, took a shot on goal that was pushed back to Morgan Sanson. The midfielder instinctively took over from the left-hand side, sending the ball into the back of the Belgian net to make it 2-1 in the 32nd minute.
Half-time was approaching and OM continued their attacking play, returning to the changing rooms with a lead.
In the second half, play got off to a flying start, but neither Payet (for Marseille in the 46th minute), nor Rezaeian or Musona for the Belgians (in the 51st and 55th minutes) managed to get past their opponents' goalkeepers.
The more forceful Belgians goaded the Olympique team into action, whereas they had mainly been playing on the sides of the pitch. In the 57th minute, Maxime Lopez, who had swapped with Sanson, sent a millimetre-accurate pass to the centre for Valère Germain. The ex-Monaco player, a born goalscorer, once again catapulted the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
Even though the Marseilles defence was worked hard, particularly against Rami (in the 63rd minute) the strikers were definitely in the game. Payet, with a free kick (66'), then Thauvin (67') took the fight to Proto. The Ostend players, despite their lack of experience in this type of match, were far from surrendering. Musona, seeing Mandanda too far forward, managed a subtle lob to reduce the home advantage to 3-2 in the 69th minute.
The result was a crazy last ten minutes, with the Olympique team being determined to restore their two-goal lead. They managed it through the man of the match, Valère Germain, who scored his third with a stunning strike from the edge of the box to make it 4-2 in the 82nd minute.
Olympique will take their two-goal advantage to the shores of the North Sea to get their ticket stamped and open the door to the UEFA Europa League.