For a significant span of the 2014 – 2015 football season, Olympique Marseille was leading the way in France’s Ligue 1. They ascended to the top spot just six weeks into the campaign, winning 3-0 against Rennes to take the lead. That was the end of September, and the Olympians wouldn’t be displaced from the frontrunner position until January. It was a stunning run that had many fans of the club—as well as speculators in the wider football world—wondering if 2014 – 2015 could be the season to break Marseille’s unlucky streak. But it was not to be and PSG ultimately took the title. We look back on the Olympique Marseille Ligue 1 history, and question why they are struggling to win another trophy.
The 2009 – 2010 Ligue 1
Coming into this season, the wearers of the Olympique Marseille away jersey 2014 – 2015 hadn’t won a Ligue 1 title since 2009 – 2010. In fact, the Olympians have been wildly inconsistent in the five years that have now elapsed since that last trophy season. In 2011 and 2013, they finished as runners-up, but in 2012, they dropped to 10th place, and a year ago, they finished all the way back at sixth.
Olympique Marseille remains the second most successful team in the history of French top flight football, with nine titles to their name. (Saint-Etienne lead, with 10.) However, since the turn of the century, the Olympians have only been victorious in Ligue 1 on one occasion, and that was in 2010.
The 2009 – 2010 season was a miraculously exciting one for fans in the Olympique Marseille soccer jersey. With the previous year’s champions, Bordeaux, slipping all the way to sixth place on the league standings table, the competition for the top slot was wide open, and the Olympians ended up being the strongest fighters of the bunch. (Lyon, Marseille’s closest competitor, trailed by six points in the final league standings.)
Unlike in the 2014 – 2015 season, where the Olympians ascended to first place early and then gradually dropped back down the table, the club’s 2009 – 2010 narrative played out in opposite fashion. Their first soccer match of the season—an 2-0 away game win over Grenoble—put them in fourth place on the Ligue 1 table, and then they began a slow and steady climb.
Not once in 2009 – 2010 did the wearers of the Olympique Marseille football shirt slip out of the top five. By week 10, they were reliably placed at third; by week 16, they were consistent fixtures at second; and 26 weeks into the season, they moved up to first place and never let it go.
There was a lot of exciting action for Marseille fans along the way. In November of 2009, for instance, they played a rapid-fire back and forth match with Lyon that ended in a 5-5 draw, without extra time. They later beat Lyon 2-1 in March 2010—a victory that more or less sealed their soccer title hopes.
Then and Now: Why Marseille Can’t Seem to Grab Another Win
All told, Marseille finished the 2009 – 2010 season with 23 wins, nine draws, and six losses, for a total of 78 points in the standings. It was a strong season, but it’s worth noting that an identical total would have only netted the Olympians third place in 2012, second in 2013, third in 2014, and second this year.
The French Ligue 1, it seems has simply become more competitive in recent years—due in large part to Paris Saint Germain stepping up their game. (In 2009 – 2010, PSG finished all the way back at 13.) So while Olympique Marseille are still a talented team—as evidenced by their strong run in the first half of the 2014 – 2015 season—they are also up against more talented teams.
Still, while the fact that the Ligue 1 is growing in stature and respect is good for any fans of French football, the Olympians are surely getting tired of being denied a return to the top of the league. Help the team get back into the winning position next year, with a new official team jersey from Soccer Box! We still have stock remaining of both the 2014 – 2015 home and third shirts, and the Olympique Marseille away jersey 2014 – 2015 is available for 10% off! You can also take an extra 12.5% off whichever soccer jersey you choose, by entering the coupon code “BLOG2015” at checkout.