The Choc des Olympiques (Clash of the Olympics) is the name of the footballlocal derby between two major teams in French football with "Olympique" in its names – Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille. The French major football broadcaster Canal+ calls this game "Olympico" referring also to El Clásico. It specifically refers to individual matches between the teams. Unlike Le Classique, the rivalry has no bad blood within it and, instead, stems from the competitiveness of the each club's players, managers, supporters, and presidential hierarchy. The rivalry is often cited as being particularly important as both clubs are of high standard in French football and the championship is regularly decided between the two. Marseille and Lyon (along with Saint-Étienne) are the only French clubs to have won the French first division four straight times with Marseille doing it on two occasions.
The first meeting between the two sides was played on 23 September 1945 and ended in a 1–1 draw. Following Jean-Michel Aulas's acquisition of Olympique Lyonnais in 1986, the rivalry entered a more competitive environment. In 1989, Marseille began an impressive streak of five consecutive French league titles, though the fifth and final title was stripped, due to the Bernard Tapie scandal, which saw the club relegated to the second division. Marseille also won the 1993 edition of the European Cup. One notable match during the streak was a 7–0 thrashing of Lyon by Marseille during the 1990–91 season.
Following Marseille's relegation to the second division and eventual return, Lyon got revenge during the 1996–97 season hammering Marseille 8–0 at the Stade de Gerland with all of their goals coming inside 55 minutes. The win, to this day, remains Lyon's biggest league victory. Lyon eventually began to ascend the French football ladder and, at the start of the new millennium, began a streak of seven consecutive French league titles, easily surpassing Marseille's streak of four. During Lyon's national record-breaking streak, Marseille finished runner-up only once, during the 2007–08 season.
Marseille 7–0 Lyon (13 January 1991) – Marseille, who were in the infancy of their dynasty, controlled the entire match effectively dismantling Lyon, who were led by Raymond Domenech and were in their first season back in the first division.
Lyon 8–0 Marseille (24 May 1997) – The final match day of the 1996–97 season. Lyon opened the match quickly scoring in the opening minute with Alain Caveglia picking up the goal. Following Caveglia's goal, Lyon began a string of deadly attacks scoring 6 unanswered goals in a span of 27 minutes. The result was 7–0 heading into the half. The final goal was scored by Ludovic Giuly in the 54th minute, which completed his hat trick.
Marseille 1–4 Lyon (22 October 2006) – Having endured a period of crisis in the early 2000s, Marseille had started recovering in 2002–03 to reintegrate the top half of the table. The club had began the 2006–07 campaign well with only one defeat in its opening 9 games, and was confident of a result against OL. With two evenly match sides on paper, few people expected the football lesson that would follow. Juninho curled in a free kick to give Lyon the lead after 20 minutes. Right at the beginning of the second half, youngster Karim Benzema, then 18 years of age, added a second. Habib Bamogo did pull one back for the locals on 70 minutes but instead of spurring them on to search for an equalizer, it only ended up infuriating the visitors and giving them more determination to humiliate OM. Juninho netted another free kick on 78 minutes under a chorus of boos and catcalls descending from the stands. Kim Kallstrom rounded up things with a fourth goal three minutes from time. For the second time in three years, Lyon humiliated OM 4–1 at the Vélodrome; they had already achieved the same scoreline in November 2003.
Marseille 2–1 Lyon (31 January 2007) – During the Round of 16 of the French Cup, Lyon scores first, with Cris scoring at the 18th minute with a header after a free kick. Throughout the match, Marseille trails on the score without scoring, and the chances to qualify for the next round become smaller and smaller. However, 2 minutes before injury time, Mickaël Pagis manages to score and Marseille comes back in the match. Two minutes later, in the first minute of the injury time, Mamadou Niang received an airborne pass and scored another goal with a header, ultimately giving Marseille the win and the qualification. The fact of this match is Lyon is considered as specialists to score goals in the last minutes of the matches, to snatch the victory, and Marseille actually did the same thing against Lyon. Marseille will be finalists of the French Cup, ultimately losing the final against Sochaux (2–2, 4–5 penalty shootout).
Lyon 1–2 Marseille (11 November 2007) – Lyon came into this game having started the season quite well and being in the top five of the league. In the meantime, OM were struggling and in spite of a change in manager in September, found themselves fighting against relegation. Playing in front of their home crowd, Lyon were heavily fancied for a win and took the lead from a 7th minute Juninho Pernambucano goal. Marseille soon fought back and Mamadou Niang equalized from the spot after 10 minutes. An entertaining game filled with goalmouth action ensued, with OM goalkeeper Steve Mandanda denying Karim Benzema on several occasions. On 43 minutes, Niang scored again to give his side the lead. OL continued to dominate proceedings in the second half yet their opponents held on to their lead and left Lyon with a valuable victory, their first in a league game at Gerland since April 2004.
Marseille 3–1 Lyon (6 April 2008) – Five months later, Eric Gerets had turned around Marseille's fortunes spectacularly, and the side was no longer languishing at the bottom of the table but fighting for a Champions League spot. They had lost just one of their last 11 league fixtures heading into this showdown. Meanwhile, Lyon had suffered a few setbacks between January to mid-February, and seen their lead over Bordeaux reduced. Spurred on by heated support from the stands, OM attacked their rivals from the start and scored twice through Mamadou Niang and Djibril Cissé just before the half-hour mark. Lyon were outplayed and were lucky to head into half time trailing by just one goal, Lorik Cana having put past his own keeper to hand the Gônes a lifeline. Early in the second half, Niang bagged another goal to dispel any doubt about the game's issue. For the first time since the 1983–84 season, when both sides were playing in the second tier of French football, OM achieved a league double over their rivals, who had to endure a nervous ending to the season following this defeat.
Lyon 0–0 Marseille (14 December 2008) – Though the match was dull and unwatchable, it was more notable due to the return of Hatem Ben Arfa to the Stade de Gerland. Ben Arfa had spent seven years at Olympique Lyonnais and was a part of four of the club's title runs before departing under questionable circumstances. Before the match, on 12 December, Ben Arfa had declared that Lyon were not a great team. As a result, he was heckled and insulted every time he touched the ball or came within inches of it. He was later substituted out in the 80th minute and was subject to a barrage of boos.
Marseille 1–3 Lyon (17 May 2009) – The balance of power of French football was beginning to tip towards the south again, after years of Olympique Lyonnais dominance. For the first time in many years, OM were above OL before heading into a confrontation with their rivals. The club coached by Eric Gerets was top of the table and targeting their first French championship since 1992. However, Lyon were not ready to let their enemy claim the title without a fight, and were determined to dent OM's title challenge. Which is exactly what they did, inspired by Karim Benzema who bagged a brace before half-time. On 90 minutes Juninho scored a third after former Lyon player Sylvain Wiltord had pulled one back for Marseille. This fixture produced Lyon's first win over Marseille since January 2007. L'OM suffered a serious setback in their title challenge and surrendered the initiative to their competitors Girondins de Bordeaux, who went on to win the league two weeks later. With 2.93 million viewers, this game has become the most watched in the history of Ligue 1.
Lyon 5–5 Marseille (8 November 2009) – Entering the match, both clubs were coming off important UEFA Champions League matches; Lyon, a 1–1 draw with Liverpool and Marseille, a 6–1 beating of Zürich. Lyon needed a victory to regain first-place position in the league, while Marseille, who were struggling for form in domestic play needed a victory to maintain a respectable position in the table. The match opened quickly with Lyon's Miralem Pjanić scoring in the 3rd minute. The goal was cancelled out 8 minutes later following Marseille's Souleymane Diawara scoring off a header from a corner kick. Just three minutes later, Lyon re-took the lead through a left-footed blast from Sidney Govou, who scored following a miraculous run. Just before halftime, Marseille again drew the match following a strike from midfielderBenoît Cheyrou that Lyon goalkeeperHugo Lloris had a hard time handling. Within minutes into the second half, Marseille took the lead for the first time following a cross into the box. The cross missed the head of Mamadou Niang and fell to Bakari Koné who poked it past Lloris. In the 74th minute, Marseille doubled their lead through Brandão. With ten minutes remaining, Lyon got a goal back from Lisandro López, who got through Marseille's defense and cheekily chipped the ball over Steve Mandanda. Four minutes later, Lyon were awarded a penalty by referee Stéphane Bré following a handball in the box by Gabriel Heinze. The penalty was converted by Lisandro and was thought to have salvaged a draw for Lyon heading into injury time. However, in injury time, Lyon, unbelievably, took the lead following combination play between Lisandro, Pjanić, and Michel Bastos, with Bastos ultimately getting the goal. With Lyon two minutes away from victory, their chances were ruined following a throw in that resulted in a goal for Marseille to draw the match at 5–5, which was the final result. The goal was initially given to Stéphane Mbia, but was later rescinded and credited as an own goal by Jérémy Toulalan. The match has been discussed as being one of the greatest matches in French football history and one of the best matches of the football season.
Lyon 3–2 Marseille (8 May 2011) – The circumstances were more or less the same than 2 years before. Once again OL were out of the title race while Marseille were competing with another team to win the league. Both teams began the game well. Loïc Rémy thought he had given his side the lead against his hometown club, but his early strike was disallowed for a dubious offside ruling. After 25 minutes, Lisandro López took the ball on the left wing, made a run towards goal and skipped inside. Souleymane Diawara attempted to block his way and conceded a penalty, which the Argentine himself took, and scored. On 69 minutes, with OM pushing forward in search of an equalizer, Lyon scored a second goal on the break. Cesar Delgado went on a mazy run and with an inspired dummy, sent two Marseille defenders crashing onto the ground. He finished the move superbly with a left-footed shot. Just when Lyon looked like they had weathered the storm, their poor defending handed their opponent a lifeline which was grabbed by Lucho Gonzalez on 70 minutes. As was often the case during Claude Puel's spell at the helm, Lyon proved unable to defend a lead against an opponent that took the game to them. Some further shambolic defending on a corner kick allowed Loic Remy to equalize with 12 minutes to go; he was unmarked at the far post. Suddenly, Lyon, who had a two-goal advantage ten minutes earlier, were looking the more vulnerable of the two sides. In a spectacular ending to the game, both Lyon and Marseille threw caution to the wind. It was OL defender Cris who scored a dramatic winner 6 minutes from time, with a sweet volley. As in 2009, Lyon underachieved in Ligue 1 but experienced the pleasure of denting Marseille's title challenge. Lille OSC won the league a few weeks later.
As of 8 May 2011, there have been 90 competitive league meetings between the two teams since its first league meeting. Marseille do hold the advantage in the league having won 29 matches to Lyon's 27. The most goals in one game were scored in the closely contested 5–5 draw at the Stade de Gerland on 8 November 2009. The biggest winning margin was an 8–0 home win by Lyon on 24 May 1997. Seven years earlier, Marseille defeated Lyon 7–0.
Of the 90 matches contested, Marseille have scored 152 goals, while Lyon are 12 back having scored 140. Marseille's record for goals scored against Lyon is six and is held by Mamadou Niang, who has been with Marseille since 2004 and, at one point, had scored in four straight Choc des Olympiques. Lyon's record is held by Sonny Anderson who also attained six goals. He is followed by Sidney Govou and Juninho Pernambucano, who both scored five.
Due to the club's ongoing rivalry, few players have played for both Lyon and Marseille. Notable players include the GhanaianAbedi Pelé, who won the African Footballer of the Year award, defender Manuel Amoros, and goalkeeper Pascal Olmeta. All three players had been part of the Marseille dynasty that won five straight French league titles and the European Cup in 1993. Amoros is the only player in the rivalry's history to transfer from one club to another, then transfer back to the previous club. Amoros had played for Marseille from 1987–1993, then spent two years at Lyon, before returning to Marseille in 1995. Others who played for both clubs include Sonny Anderson, who had one respectable season at Marseille and later joined Lyon becoming one of the club's most prominent players, Hatem Ben Arfa, who developed into a prodigy at Lyon before departing to Marseille under bad circumstances, and Florian Maurice, who was one of Lyon's most influential players during the mid-1990s before leaving for the south coast having two solid seasons there.