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Vélodrome pair out to preserve status quo

Matchday 6 rivals at the Stade Vélodrome, third-placed Olympique de Marseille and section leaders Club Atlético de Madrid are both looking to hold on to their positions of strength in their closing Group D fixture.

Action from the Matchday 2 meeting between the two sides
Action from the Matchday 2 meeting between the two sides ©Getty Images

Olympique de Marseille and Club Atlético de Madrid are both aiming to preserve the status quo in Group D when they meet at Stade Vélodrome on Matchday 6.

• For visitors Atlético, a place in the knockout stage is already secured but the group leaders will be determined to hold on to first place in the section ahead of Liverpool FC.

• In the case of third-placed Marseille, they may be unable to progress in the UEFA Champions League but they are on course for the consolation prize of a UEFA Cup place and will not want see it slip from their grasp now.

• With Atlético and Liverpool tied on eleven points, the Madrid club would make sure of top spot were they to better the English side's result at PSV Eindhoven. In the event of the top two each recording the same outcome, Javier Aguirre's side would stay first provided they maintained their goal-difference advantage over Liverpool.

• Should goal difference and then goals scored fail to separate the qualified teams, the final standings would be determined by coefficient ranking. Thus, if all other factors were equal, Liverpool (with a coefficient of 118.996) would finish ahead of Atlético (36.837).

• For OM, the equation is even more straightforward given they lead PSV on the head-to-head record: Erik Gerets' men need only to match the Dutch team's result to sew up third position.

• Atlético defeated PSV 2-1 at the Vicente Calderón on Matchday 5 to book their last-16 berth, Simão and Maxi Rodríguez scoring for the Spanish Liga outfit.

• On the same night Marseille went down 1-0 at Liverpool – a result that confirmed their UEFA Champions League elimination.

• The sides met for the first ever time on 1 October when goals from Sergio Agüero (4) and Raúl García (22) earned Atlético a 2-1 victory in the Spanish capital. Mamadou Niang (16) was the scorer for Marseille that evening.

• That result maintained Atlético's strong record against French sides, with nine previous meetings having produced five wins, three draws and one defeat.

• That single reverse came on their previous visit to France when they went down 4-2 at RC Lens in March 2000 in a UEFA Cup fourth-round tie that they lost 6-4 on aggregate.

• Prior to losing in Lens the Madrid outfit had registered one win and two draws on French soil, the solitary victory a 3-2 success at CS Sedan-Ardennes in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup preliminary round in 1961/62.

• Marseille would settle for a repeat of the score the last time a Spanish club visited the Vélodrome – a 5-1 win against RC Deportivo La Coruña in the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2005. Franck Ribéry, Abdoulaye Méïté, Andrés Mendoza, Niang and Wilson Oruma all found the net as the Ligue 1 side overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit in emphatic fashion.

• Their two other home matches against visitors from Spain brought a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid CF in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage and a first-leg victory by the same scoreline against RC Celta de Vigo that helped them progress to the semi-finals of the 1998/99 UEFA Cup.

• Marseille also went down to Spanish opposition in the 2004 UEFA Cup final, losing 2-0 to Valencia CF in Gothenburg.

• Atlético midfielder Maniche was a scorer for former club FC Porto when that season's eventual UEFA Champions League winners prevailed 3-2 at Marseille in the 2003/04 group stage.

• Atlético forward Florent Sinama Pongolle was in the Liverpool team beaten by Marseille in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

• The draw for the UEFA Champions League first knockout round will take place at 12.00CET on Friday 19 December at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Group winners will be paired against runners-up from different sections with the second-placed teams playing the first leg at home. Clubs from the same associations cannot be drawn together.