After FC Bayern München dashed their hopes of a first Group F victory, ACF Fiorentina face an uphill struggle to qualify for the next stage against an Olympique Lyonnais side who are well placed to progress again.
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Tim Borowski's late leveller for FC Bayern München on Matchday 4 did ACF Fiorentina no favours as it left the Italian side five points adrift of the joint leaders in Group F with only two games remaining. They now they have to defeat Olympique Lyonnais at the Stadio Artemio Franchi to have any chance of going through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.
• With eight points, the French champions lead the way in the section along with Bayern and are ideally placed to secure their sixth successive qualification. They finished second in their section behind FC Barcelona last season but previously had posted four first-placed finishes in a row.
• After 71 minutes of the game between these teams at the Stade de Gerland on 17 September it seemed that Fiorentina were about to launch their second appearance in the competition in its current guise on a high note. At that stage of the Matchday 1 contest they held a 2-0 lead thanks to two headed goals by Alberto Gilardino at either end of the first half. However, the home team hit back in the last 18 minutes, Frédéric Piquionne and Karim Benzema strking to secure a point.
• Cesare Prandelli's team followed that with a disappointing 0-0 home draw against FC Steaua Bucureşti before two games against Bayern. The German champions won 3-0 on their own ground, the Viola's former striker Luca Toni adding insult to injury by laying on the first two goals for Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger before Zé Roberto curled in the third. In the Matchday 4 return Adrian Mutu's eleventh-minute volley gave the Italian side hope for a first victory but their hopes were dashed when Borowski struck with a low drive with 12 minutes remaining to leave the home team in third place on three points.
• Fiorentina's record against French visitors in European competition does not augur well for their hopes of getting the win they need. In four home games they have managed to come out on top on only one occasion, a 1-0 success against AJ Auxerre in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup quarter-final. In the last contest, in the 2001/02 UEFA Cup third round, Fiorentina went down 1-0 to LOSC Lille Métropole.
• In addition, Lyon have suffered only one defeat in six trips to Italy in UEFA club competition, going down 3-1 at AC Milan in 2005/06 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. Three of the French side's first four games away against Serie A opposition ended in victory while their most recent visit, to AS Roma in the 2006/07 first knockout round first leg, finished goalless.
• Lyon followed their opening draw with the Viola by taking another point, this time away to Bayern. They were pegged back themselves on this occasion after Martín Demichelis inadvertently flicked Juninho Pernambucano's long-range free-kick into his own net. The hosts responded after the break, Zé Roberto powering in a header.
• Lyon's double-header with Steaua began with a stirring win in Bucharest in which they came from two goals down. Arthuro and Dorin Goian gave the home side a handsome advantage after eleven minutes but by the 33rd the French champions were level thanks to Benzema and Kader Keita. Ovidiu Petre headed a third for Steaua but in the second half Lyon took charge, substitute Fred notching twice either side of another Benzema effort to run out 5-3 winners.
• Gilardino was in the Milan side that overcame Lyon in the 2005/06 quarter-finals. He started the first leg, a 0-0 draw in France, but failed to get off the bench as the Italian side won 3-1 at home in the return fixture.
• Romania striker Mutu appeared in a FIFA World Cup qualifying tie in Constanta on 11 October against France. In the visiting team were Jean-Alain Boumsong and Jérémy Toulalan while Benzema appeared as a first-half substitute.
• In the UEFA EURO 2008™ final tournament, Mutu scored for Romania against an Itlay team which included Lyon full-back Fabio Grosso. He also missed a late penalty as the match finished 1-1. In Romania's previous outing, Mutu faced a France side featuring Benzema and Toulalan.
• Viola goalkeeper Sébastien Frey came up against Lyon in his native France when playing for AS Cannes, going down to a 2-0 defeat in April 1998. He also faced Lille in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round while No1 at Parma FC with his side bowing out 2-1 on aggregate.
• The other game in the group features Bayern at home to Steaua.