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Lyon wary as United make familiar trip

As Manchester United FC prepare for another trip to France, Olympique Lyonnais hope to make up for the dismay of being knocked out at this stage last year.

Karim Benzema's goals helped Lyon to progress after a shaky start to their campaign
Karim Benzema's goals helped Lyon to progress after a shaky start to their campaign ©Getty Images

Manchester United FC were in France for the first leg of last season's UEFA Champions League first knockout round and 12 months later the draw for the same stage has sent them on a similar journey. For LOSC Lille Métropole, now read Olympique Lyonnais as Sir Alex Ferguson's team bid to go one better than last year's run to the semi-finals.

• For the French champions this is the opportunity to make up for last year's disappointment when they bowed out of the competition at this stage, drawing 0-0 away to AS Roma then failing to build on that achievement at home as they foundered 2-0. The aggregate defeat bucked a trend: in the previous three seasons Lyon, winning the first match every time, had always managed to get through this round before meeting defeat at the quarter-final stage.

• Alain Perrin's team began this season's competition by losing both their first two fixtures by 3-0 scorelines. The home defeat by Rangers FC on Matchday 2 put their qualifying hopes in grave danger but they proceeded to dig themselves out of a hole, winning their next home game against VfB Stuttgart 4-2 and drawing the other, 2-2 with FC Barcelona. With victories in both their last two away fixtures they took second place in Group E with ten points, four behind the Catalan club.

• Lyon and United last met in the group stage of the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League when the English team had the better of things, drawing 2-2 at the Stade de Gerland before edging the home game 2-1. In the starting lineups for the game in France were Grégory Coupet, Cris, Juninho Pernambucano, Anthony Réveillère and Sidney Govou for Lyon and Wes Brown, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, John O'Shea and Mikaël Silvestre for United.

• It was Lyon's fifth tie in UEFA club competition against English opponents, but only their second in the UEFA Champions League having faced Arsenal FC in 2000/01 at the second group stage. Arsenal left Lyon with a 1-0 victory thanks to their French international striker Thierry Henry, while at Highbury eight days later, the teams shared two goals with Dennis Bergkamp's 33rd-minute strike cancelled out by Edmílson's last-gasp equaliser.

• Overall, Lyon have won one home game against English opposition, 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur FC in the 1967/68 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round. Apart from the Arsenal defeat they have drawn the other three fixtures, 0-0 with Nottingham Forest FC in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup third round, 2-2 versus Blackburn Rovers FC in the same competition three years later, and the United fixture. On an aggregate basis they have won two of the five contests.

• The Old Trafford club have been frequent travellers across the English Channel in Europe's premier club competition since the 1997/98 season. They were ousted in the quarter-finals that year after drawing 0-0 away to AS Monaco FC and 1-1 at home. In both 1999/00 and again two years later, they faced French teams in the first and second group stages. First it was Olympique de Marseille and FC Girondins de Bordeaux in 1999 while in 2001 they recorded matching 1-1 draws away to Lille and FC Nantes Atlantique.

• Overall, in ten visits to France, United have lost just twice with three wins and five draws. Twelve months ago Ryan Giggs got the winner away to Lille – making up for a 1-0 defeat against the same team in the 2005/06 group stage – with Henrik Larsson ensuring another 1-0 scoreline in the return. Before that setback at the hands of Lille, United's only defeat had come as defending UEFA Champions League winners in 1999/00 when a William Gallas goal provided Marseille with a 1-0 victory in the first group stage.

• English teams have won their last four UEFA Champions League games in France including qualifiers. Out of a total of 20 European Champion Clubs' Cup road games played by English clubs against French sides, there have been eight away wins, seven home victories and five draws.

• United had a five-point advantage over Roma at the end of Group F, dropping just two points in a near-flawless campaign. It began with an 1-0 win at Sporting Clube de Portugal and they also posted a 4-2 away win against FC Dynamo Kyiv. They qualified with two games to spare and completed the programme with a much-changed team and a 1-1 draw against Roma in Italy.