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OM unfazed by in-form Madrid

Didier Deschamps says his Olympique de Marseille players "are not afraid" of a Real Madrid CF outfit who have swept all before them so far this term by winning each of their six competitive matches.

OM unfazed by in-form Madrid
OM unfazed by in-form Madrid ©UEFA.com

Didier Deschamps says his Olympique de Marseille players "are not afraid" of a Real Madrid CF outfit who have swept all before them this term as he prepares his side for the Group C fixture at the Santiago Bernabéu. He has, however, warned his charges to "concentrate" at all times against an expensively-assembled team which has won six out of six this season.

Manuel Pellegrini, Madrid coach
Every time you have an injured player you have to change your plans. We'll have to wait and see about Sergio Ramos's fitness, but we hope he will be fine. We've watched Olympique's recent matches and we know how they play. The players know exactly what they are doing. There have been some predeterminated moves but there is freedom too. Rotation is not a question of justice or injustice, it depends on many things and there are many reasons behind a team's selection. You don't know who is going to play more between now and the end of the season. We try to organise the rotation according to a number of ideas. Karim Benzema is a young player and because of that he is playing some matches. Scoring goals is important for him. We have Gonzalo Higuaín in the same position. I'm very happy with all my players.

Didier Deschamps, Marseille coach
It will be difficult to play here against a strong team with talented players. Nobody has an easy match. We must defend well but that won't be enough if we want to win. Benzema is a young player with a lot of talent. He is going to improve by playing with other talented players. He is a skilful player who has everything an international striker needs. He has started the season very well and I hope he is going to be relaxed tomorrow. We must concentrate against these players − they can make the difference in just one second. We respect Real Madrid but we are not afraid. [Fernando] Morientes is an experienced player and he knows how to handle this kind of match. He has scored everywhere [he has been] and he is a very important player for Marseille on and off the pitch.

Weekend results
26/09/09 Madrid 3-0 CD Tenerife
(Benzema 47 58, Kaká 77)
• Pellegrini made five changes to the side as Madrid maintained their 100 per cent record this term. Pepe returned at centre-back after completing a ten-game domestic ban and Xabi Alonso began in midfield having recovered from a calf problem. Royston Drenthe replaced Marcelo at left-back, while Raúl González and Benzema were reinstated in attack as Kaká dropped to the bench.

26/09/09 Valenciennes FC 3-2 Marseille
(Biševac 21, Ducourtioux 29, Schmitz 84; Morientes 13, Niang 22)
• It was OM's first Ligue 1 defeat of the season, ending a run of eleven away matches unbeaten in the league since going down 1-0 at FC Sochaux-Montbéliard on 1 February. Marseille had won six and drawn one away from home in all competitions since losing 2-0 at FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Cup on 9 April.

• It was Morientes's first start for OM and the former Spanish international's goal was his first in Ligue 1 since he struck for AS Monaco FC in the 4-1 defeat by Stade Rennais FC on 15 May 2004.

• Mamadou Niang has scored in all of Marseille's away games this season.

Team news
Out: Christoph Metzelder (right calf), Ruud van Nistelrooy (thigh), Álvaro Arbeloa (right knee), Lassana Diarra (shoulder)
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked: none
• Diarra pulled out of the Madrid squad on Tuesday because of rheumatoid arthritis in his right shoulder.

Out: Bakari Koné (knee), Garry Bocaly (thigh), Stéphane Mbia (knee), Taye Taiwo (knee), Hilton (hip)
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked: none

• The last time Madrid played host to Marseille it proved a night for the star names with Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo twice and Luís Figo all on the scoresheet in a 4-2 home victory. That win, and a later 2-1 victory at the Stade Vélodrome, came in the 2003/04 group stage, the only previous fixtures between the teams.

• Marseille lost 2-1 at Club Atlético de Madrid in last season's group stage. In five visits to Spain their best result was a goalless draw at RC Celta de Vigo in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup quarter-finals that took them into the last four 2-1 on aggregate.

• The Spanish side have drawn their last two home fixtures against French visitors, both against Olympique Lyonnais in the 2005/06 and 2006/07 group stages.

• Marseille have lost five successive away games in the competition proper since winning 1-0 at Liverpool FC in their first tie on the road during the 2007/08 season.

Did you know?

Morientes picked up three UEFA Champions League winners' medals with Madrid between 1997 and 2005.