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|I||Athletic||21:05||H. Kiryat Shmona|
Olympique Lyonnais have reason to feel confident as AC Sparta Praha return to the Stade de Gerland for their opening UEFA Europa League Group I game.
• The sides met for the first time in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage, with Paul Le Guen's Lyon beating František Straka's team 2-1 in Prague and then 5-0 at home – one of the three heaviest defeats in Sparta's European history.
• The teams for that first encounter in Prague on 28 September 2004 were:
Sparta: Blažek, Pergl, Sivok, Zelenka (Baranek 82), Poborský, Čech (Voříšek 46), Urbánek, Kováč, Pacanda (Střihavka 62), Jun, Homola.
Lyon: Coupet, Cris, Essien, Caçapa, Diarra, Juninho (Diatta 83), Malouda, Réveillère*, Govou (Nilmar 85), Wiltord (Frau 73), Berthod.
• The teams for the return fixture in Lyon on 8 December 2004 were:
Lyon: Puydebois, Essien, Diarra (Gomez 56), Malouda (Idangar 67), Nilmar, Réveillère*, Frau, Diatta, Bergougnoux, Berthod (Truchet 81), Clément.
Sparta: Blažek, Labant (Urbánek 28), Sivok, Zelenka, Poborský, Voříšek, Kováč, Šimák (Meduna 65), Petráš, Jun (Pacanda 79), Homola.
* registered to play for the club in 2012/13.
• Sparta are the only Czech club that Lyon have beaten; their record in four games against Czech opponents reads W2 D1 L1 (W1 D1 L0 at home – W1 D0 L1 in the Czech Republic).
• Sparta's record in seven fixtures against French sides reads W2 D2 L3 (W1 D1 L1 at home – W1 D1 L2 in France). They won their only previous UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage game against French opponents, prevailing 3-2 at Toulouse FC in 2007/08.
• Regulars in the UEFA Champions League, Lyon are making their debut in this stage of the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League. This is their first game in this competition since they bowed out to Denizlispor in the third round of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup.
• Lyon are without a win in four games in this competition since beating Club Brugge KV 3-0 in the 2001/02 third round on 6 December 2001.
• This is Sparta's fifth group stage campaign in this competition – they made it through to the knockout phase for the first time at the fourth attempt in 2010/11.
• Sparta are unbeaten in five European games, including two wins and two draws in qualifying this season.
• Rémi Garde replaced Claude Puel as Lyon coach in June 2011, having worked behind the scenes as a coach and assistant manager since 2003, and also as a television pundit after hanging up his boots. Capped six times, Garde played as a defender for Lyon and then RC Strasbourg, finishing his career in England at Arsenal FC.
• Vitězslav Lavička represented Sparta in three spells as a midfielder in the 1980s and 1990s, and is now in his second term as the club's coach, following a spell in charge in 2008. Once coach of the Czech Under-21 side, he won the Australian title with Sydney FC in 2009/10 before returning to Prague in 2012.
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