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FC Spartak Moskva started Group F with two victories but home and away defeats by section leaders Chelsea FC have dented their hopes of progressing – and now they face an Olympique de Marseille team who set a new UEFA Champions League record on Matchday 4.
• Spartak created a little bit of history in September as a late own goal by Marseille defender César Azpilicueta gave the Russian side their first win on French soil at the 11th attempt.
• Marseille then lost to Chelsea but kick-started their campaign with victory against MŠK Žilina on Matchday 3 and in the reverse fixture ran in seven goals without reply in Slovakia. The 7-0 margin was the biggest away victory in the UEFA Champions League; indeed only Manchester United FC, with a 6-2 triumph at Brøndby IF in 1998/99, had previously scored six goals away from home.
• These sides met in the 1990/91 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals when Marseille seized the initiative with a 3-1 win in Russia, subsequently recording a 2-1 home victory. Spartak coach Valeri Karpin played in both games for the Moscow club.
• Marseille beat Spartak in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 32 despite a 2-0 second-leg reverse in Moscow. The French team's 3-0 home win – Benoît Cheyrou and Taye Taiwo both on target – took them through.
• The teams for the second leg in Moscow on 21 February 2008 were:
Spartak: Pletikosa, Stranzl, Kudryashov, Kováč, Maidana, Mozart, Pavlenko (Prudnikov 83), Parshivlyuk (Dedura 89), Pavlyuchenko, Titov (Bystrov 76), Welliton (Dzuba 72).
Marseille: Mandanda, Bonnart, Taiwo, Givet, Kaboré (Oruma 9), M'Bami, Cana, Nasri (Zenden 60), Valbuena, Cissé, Niang (Ziani 79).
• Marseille's hopes were ended in the next round by another Russian outfit, a 3-1 home win against FC Zenit St Petersburg undone by a 2-0 second-leg defeat. Zenit went on to lift the trophy.
• Marseille have lost only two of their six matches in Russia, winning two – the other was a 2-1 triumph at PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage.
• Spartak's 2007/08 win against Marseille was just their second home win against Ligue 1 opponents in their ninth fixture, four of which ended in defeat.
• Spartak were 3-0 home winners against Žilina on Matchday 2, Ari scoring twice. It was their first UEFA Champions League group stage win at the Luzhniki Stadion since a 4-1 defeat of Arsenal FC on 22 November 2000.
• They were unable to repeat the feat in their next game as Chelsea marked their return to the ground where they lost the 2008 final with a 2-0 win. Spartak then went down 4-1 in west London, although Nikita Bazhenov did have the consolation of scoring the first goal Chelsea had conceded in 956 minutes of league and UEFA Champions League football at Stamford Bridge.
• Marseille were beaten 2-0 at Chelsea on Matchday 2, before collecting their first points – and goal – when Souleymane Diawara's second-half winner saw off Žilina's challenge.
• The Stamford Bridge defeat meant OM had lost seven of their last nine away games in the UEFA Champions League proper before Matchday 4. Didier Deschamps' side improved their record in spectacular fashion, however, André-Pierre Gignac scoring three times and Lucho González twice in that record-breaking victory at Žilina.
• The opposing coaches were both involved when France and Russia were drawn in the same qualifying group for UEFA EURO 2000. The away team won both games 3-2, Karpin scoring the winning goal in Paris on 5 June 1999. Deschamps and Karpin were in the starting lineups for those matches, Russia's home fixture taking place in Moscow on 10 October 1998.
• Deschamps and Karpin both had one-year spells with Valencia CF, the latter in 1996/97 and Deschamps in 2000/01.
• Deschamps' first European game came for FC Nantes against Spartak in the 1985/86 UEFA Cup third round.
• OM goalkeeper Elinton Andrade and Spartak midfielder Ibson both played for CR Flamengo in 2003.
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