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Olympique de Marseille will look to avoid another calamity at the Luzhniki Stadium as they take a 3-0 lead into the away leg of their UEFA Cup Round of 32 tie against FC Spartak Moskva.
• Erik Gerets' side have one foot in the Round of 16 after second-half goals from Benoît Cheyrou, Taye Taiwo and Mamadou Niang gave them an emphatic win in France. It was Spartak's ninth successive defeat on French soil.
• However, OM have come unstuck at Spartak's Luzhniki Stadium before, losing 3-0 to Parma FC in the Russian capital in the 1989/99 UEFA Cup final.
• The artificial pitch was a further concern for Marseille coach Erik Gerets, who said: "I hope we can cope with it." He added: "We're not through yet. They will play to score early and have proved that they could be a threat."
• Spartak are on the lookout for their 100th win in UEFA club competition.
• Marseille qualified for the Round of 32 after finishing third in UEFA Champions League Group A. Spartak finished second in UEFA Cup Group E.
• The two sides met in the 1990/91 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals, with Marseille winning 5-2 on aggregate en route to a penalty shoot-out defeat by FK Crvena Zvezda in the final.
• Marseille won the first leg 3-1 in Moscow, with Abédi Pelé and Jean-Pierre Papin putting them 2-0 up by half-time. Igor Shalimov struck back for Spartak but Philippe Vercruysse restored the French side's advantage late on. Abédi Pelé and Basile Boli then scored for Marseille in France with Aleksandr Mostovoi scoring a consolation goal for the then Soviet giants.
• Spartak coach Stanislav Cherchesov will remember the tie well, having played in goal for his side in both legs.
• Cherchesov was also an unused substitute as France and Russia exchanged 3-2 wins in UEFA EURO 2000™ qualifying and was on the losing side as France beat Russia 3-1 in a 1993 friendly.
• Marseille have now played eight games against Russian sides, winning five, drawing two and losing one. Their four away games against Russian clubs have produced two wins and two draws.
• Spartak have already come up against Ligue 1 opposition in this season's UEFA Cup, losing 2-1 at Toulouse FC in their final group stage game.
• The Russian club have now played 18 games against French teams, winning just once, drawing four games and losing 13. At home they have won one, drawn three and lost four. Their lone home win was a 5-1 victory against Toulouse in the 1986/87 UEFA Cup second round – a result they could do with repeating against Marseille.
• Spartak's nine trips to France have brought one draw and eight defeats, with the 2-1 loss at Toulouse in their most recent European game representing their eighth successive defeat on French soil.
• The aggregate winners will meet the victors of the tie between FC Zenit St. Petersburg and Villarreal CF in the Round of 16 on 6 and 12/13 March, playing the first leg at home. Zenit beat their Spanish visitors 1-0 on home soil.
• There is thus the possibility of an all-Russian Round of 16 encounter between Spartak and Zenit, the team who outpaced them to take the Russian title in 2007.
• Marseille's Lorik Cana, Djibril Cissé, Samir Nasri and Mamadou Niang are all within a booking of a one-match ban, as are Spartak's Radoslav Kováč and Roman Pavlyuchenko.
• Winter UEFA Cup registrations
Marseille: In – Juan Ángel Krupoviesa, Charles Kabore, Leyti N'Diaye, Jean-Philipe Sabo.
Out – Salim Arrache, Matt Moussilou, Fabrice Fiorèse, Vincent Gragnic.
Spartak: In – Alexander Pavlenko, Cristián Maidana, Soslan Dzhanaev, Oleg Dineev.
Out – Denis Boyarinstev, Geder, Wojciech Kowalewski, Ádám Dudas, Dmitriy Torbinsky.
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