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ACF Fiorentina visit FC Bayern München for the first leg of their last-16 encounter aiming for a sixth successive UEFA Champions League victory.
• The in-form Serie A side are seeking a first quarter-final appearance in UEFA's premier club competition since 1969/70 and have won their last two away matches in Europe, including a 2-1 victory at Liverpool FC in their most recent outing.
• Yet Fiorentina have never won in Germany and while Bayern's home form has been shaky, they beat the Viola in Munich last season and dealt impressively with their last test against Italian opponents – winning 4-1 at Juventus in December to reach the knockout rounds.
• Bayern prevailed 3-0 when the clubs met for the first time on 21 October 2008. Miroslav Klose (4), Bastian Schweinsteiger (25) and Zé Roberto (90) got the goals for the home side.
• The lineups that day were:
Bayern: Rensing, Oddo, Lucio, Demichelis, Lahm (Lell 46), Van Bommel, Zé Roberto, Schweinsteiger (Borowski 65), Ribéry, Klose, Toni (Podolski 57).
Fiorentina: Frey, Zauri, Gamberini, Dainelli, Vargas (Gobbi 74), Melo, Kuzmanović, Montolivo, Santana (Jovetić 64), Mutu, Gilardino.
• The teams drew 1-1 in Florence on 5 November. Adrian Mutu gave the Viola an early lead, Tim Borowski equalising after 78 minutes. Bayern finished group winners while Fiorentina had to wait until Matchday 6 for their only victory of that group stage.
• Bayern will look to emulate their display against Juve on 8 December as they bid to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the second season running.
• Louis van Gaal's side overwhelmed the Turin outfit 4-1 to tie up second place in Group A thanks to goals from Hans-Jörg Butt, Ivica Olić, Mario Gómez and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk.
• At the Fußball Arena München, however, Bayern took just four points from a possible nine and scored only one goal, in the narrow victory against bottom-placed Maccabi Haifa FC.
• Bayern's defeat of Fiorentina last term was only their second success in their last eight home meetings with Italian opponents.
• Fiorentina advanced to the last 16 in style, topping Group E with 15 points. Together with FC Girondins de Bordeaux, they are the competition's in-form team having won their last five matches.
• The team from Florence have lost only two of their last eleven away matches in UEFA club competition and are looking to achieve three successive away wins in Europe for the first time.
• Cesare Prandelli's men will hope to avoid the fate of the last sides to enter the first knockout round on the back of five straight wins, namely FC Internazionale Milano FC and Sevilla FC in 2007/08, who both missed out on the quarter-finals.
• The Tuscan club have never won in Germany where their record reads one draw and three losses. The only time they avoided defeat was when they drew 1-1 at Werder Bremen in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup semi-finals. A goalless draw in the Weserstadion return took them through to the final, where they lost 3-1 on aggregate to Serie A rivals Juventus.
• Bayern coach Van Gaal encountered Fiorentina with former club FC Barcelona in the 1999/2000 UEFA Champions League group stage, overseeing a 4-2 home victory in September 1999 before a 3-3 draw in Florence two months later.
• Van Gaal has twice faced Italian opposition in the UEFA Champions League final. In 1995 his AFC Ajax team overcame AC Milan 1-0, before losing the following season's showpiece to Juventus after a penalty shoot-out.
• Van Gaal had previously guided Ajax to victory against Torino FC in the 1992 UEFA Cup final.
• Butt's goal against Juventus on Matchday 6 was his third against the Bianconeri in Europe. He converted a spot-kick for Hamburger SV in a 4-4 draw in 2000/01 and another for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in a 3-1 win the following season.
• In 2006 Alberto Gilardino appeared as a substitute in Italy's 2-0 FIFA World Cup semi-final win against a Germany team including Bayern trio Klose, Philipp Lahm and Schweinsteiger.
• Gilardino tasted semi-final defeat when his old club Milan lost out to a Barcelona side including Mark van Bommel in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League semi-final.
• Gilardino was also part of the Milan team that got the better of Bayern in the 2006/07 quarter-finals, despite two goals from Daniel Van Buyten at San Siro.
• Former Germany midfielder Stefan Effenberg played for both Bayern – with whom he won the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League – and Fiorentina. Effenberg joined the Viola in 1992 from Bayern, but later returned to the Bavarian giants in 1998. More recently, Luca Toni spent two free-scoring seasons with Fiorentina from 2005 to 2007 before moving on to Bayern.
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