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Stakes high in Stuttgart

Defeat for VfB Stuttgart and Olympique Lyonnais would make further UEFA Champions League progress unlikely but victory could bring new belief.

Stuttgart have to pick themselves up from the disappointment of two defeats
Stuttgart have to pick themselves up from the disappointment of two defeats ©Getty Images

The stakes will be high at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadion when VfB Stuttgart and Olympique Lyonnais meet in a Group E fixture that both clubs will view as a possible step towards salvation. Having each lost their opening two games, they sit joint-bottom of their group, six points behind the top two, and another defeat for either side would make further progress in the UEFA Champions League highly unlikely. Victory, on the other hand, would bring renewed belief.

• You have to go back to 2002/03 for the last time Lyon failed to reach the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds but the French champions have it all to do after their Matchday 2 loss at home to Rangers FC. Lee McCulloch, Daniel Cousin and DaMarcus Beasley inflicted a second successive 3-0 defeat on Alain Perrin's team, who were beaten at FC Barcelona in their opening game.

• Stuttgart will be hoping for better than the 2-0 loss they suffered against Barcelona in their Matchday 2 home fixture. Second-half goals from Carles Puyol and Lionel Messi ensured a second straight defeat for Armin Veh's team, who a fortnight earlier had surrendered the advantage given them by Mario Gómez as they lost 2-1 at Rangers.

• The German team suffered an identical opening-day defeat at Rangers in 2003/04 yet still qualified for the first knockout round. That time, however, they responded with four successive victories.

• Stuttgart have a reasonable record against French opponents, with four wins, one draw and two defeats in their seven previous matches. They have overcome RC Lens, AJ Auxerre and LOSC Lille Metropole in two-legged UEFA Intertoto Cup ties since the turn of the century. In addition they recorded a 2-0 victory at Stade Rennais FC in the 2005/06 UEFA Cup group stage, courtesy of goals from Jon Dahl Tomasson and Danijel Ljuboja.

• Lyon can take heart from a good recent record in Germany, where they have picked up victories on their last three visits: they beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen 4-2 in the 2001/02 first group stage, FC Bayern München 2-1 in the 2003/04 group stage, and Werder Bremen 3-0 en route to a stunning 10-2 aggregate triumph in the first knockout round in 2004/05.

• Sylvain Wiltord, Mahamadou Diarra and Juninho Pernambucano got the goals in that most recent success, while Juninho – the only one of that trio still at the Stade de Gerland – also found the net in the victory at Bayern.

• Prior to their recent run of triumphs away to Bundesliga clubs, Lyon had a poor record in Germany with one draw followed by five straight defeats.

• Stuttgart's Ludovic Magnin and Lyon's Patrick Müller were defensive colleagues in the Switzerland national squads at the 2006 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2004™.

• For Fabio Grosso, Lyon's visit to Stuttgart marks his second trip to Germany since he converted the winning penalty in the 2006 FIFA World Cup final in Berlin. The Italy full-back appeared as an 83rd-minute substitute in former club FC Internazionale Milano's 1-1 draw at Bayern last December.