Both teams claimed 2-0 domestic wins at the weekend ahead of this encounter, with the hosts beating Krylya Sovetov while Marseille came up trumps at Monaco.
Lokomotiv's three-year stint in the Champions League has come to an abrupt end, with last year's third-placed finish in the Russian Premier Liga forcing them to settle for a spot in Europe's secondary competition this time around.
Marko Nikolic's side have not plied their trade in the Europa League since the 2017-18 season - where Atletico Madrid sent them packing 8-1 on aggregate in the last 16 - and any hopes of a top-two finish are far from guaranteed with Marseille, Lazio and Galatasaray also occupying spots in Group E.
Despite going down 3-0 to Zenit St Petersburg in the Super Cup back in July, Lokomotiv have since made an unbeaten start to the top-flight season with four wins and three draws from seven games, the most recent of which saw them sink Krylya 2-0 at the weekend.
It took a double from substitute Francois Kamano to propel Lokomotiv to victory on the day, but that victory extended the hosts' unbeaten competitive run on home soil to 12 matches ahead of the visit of Marseille, and they have only failed to score in one of those games.
Nikolic's side had failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their previous six league fixtures before the visit of Krylya, though, which does not spell optimism before the visit of a Marseille side who have been transformed into a different beast under Jorge Sampaoli.
Having found the back of the net eight times in three matches with Montpellier HSC, Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne, Marseille travelled to the Stade Louis II to face an under-performing Monaco side on Saturday, and they passed that test with flying colours.
Even in the absences of Dimitri Payet and Arkadiusz Milik, Sampaoli's side were able to rely on the up-and-coming Seny Dieng to get them over the line, as the 21-year-old raced through in the first half to score the opener before a delightful turn and finish on the hour mark in a 2-0 success for Marseille.
While Paris Saint-Germain are expected to run away with the Ligue 1 crown, Marseille certainly have the look of a side capable of pushing their Classique rivals all the way, while also seeking an immediate return to the Champions League following last season's disappointment.
Andre Villas-Boas's Marseille failed to make it out of their Champions League group last year, but they have recent experience of nearly going all the way in the Europa League, reaching the 2017-18 final before being downed 3-0 by Atletico Madrid.
Thursday's encounter will mark the first time that Lokomotiv and Marseille have locked horns in any competition, and Les Olympiens have not faced off against Russian opposition away from home since easing to a 3-0 win over Spartak Moscow in the 2010-11 Champions League.
Kamano is sure to earn a recall to the first XI following his weekend heroics, with Maksim Petrov's spot most at risk for the visit of Marseille.
The visitors would welcome Payet back to the fold after his suspension was served at the weekend, but the attacker is nursing a thigh problem, while Alvaro Gonzalez is available despite serving a domestic ban for his involvement in the ugly scenes against Nice.
With Milik not expected to recover from a knee injury just yet, the stage is set for Dieng to impress once again, but Sampaoli's extensive options in the final third could see the Marseille boss tempted into a couple of changes.
Gerson and Konrad de la Fuente are among the new arrivals hoping to force their way back into the team, but deadline-day signing Amine Harit will not want to be dropped after claiming an assist on his debut against Monaco.
Lokomotiv Moscow possible starting lineup:
Guilherme; Zhivoglyadov, Jedvaj, Magkeev, Rybus; Zhemaletdinov, Barinov, Kulikov, Kamano; Smolov, Lisakovich
Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Saliba, Balerdi, Peres; Lirola, Kamara, Guendouzi, De la Fuente; Under, Harit; Dieng
We say: Lokomotiv Moscow 1-2 Marseille
Marseille would normally be expected to struggle for goals without Payet and Milik leading the charge, but Sampaoli's squad depth in midfield and attack is truly enviable, even if their defence is not always watertight.
With Lokomotiv also enjoying an unbeaten start to their league season, this is sure to be a hotly-contested affair, but we expect Marseille's abundance of talent in the final third to propel them to victory.
body check tags ::