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Old friends reunited in Group F

Wherever you look in Group F there are memories of games gone by, with Didier Deschamps' return to Chelsea FC and Didier Drogba's trip to Olympique de Marseille the standout reunions.

Didier Drogba will play against Marseille for the first time since leaving for Chelsea in 2004
Didier Drogba will play against Marseille for the first time since leaving for Chelsea in 2004 ©Getty Images

There will be some high-profile reunions in Group F after Chelsea FC, Olympique de Marseille, FC Spartak Moskva and MŠK Žilina were paired together following the UEFA Champions League draw in Monaco.

Former Chelsea midfielder Didier Deschamps will go back to Stamford Bridge as coach of Marseille while Didier Drogba returns to the Vélodrome. The French club will lock horns again with Spartak, the team they beat in the 1990/91 semi-finals and debutants Žilina travel to west London for a second time after meeting the English champions back in 2003.

David Barnard, Chelsea director
I think it could have been worse – more difficult. We've got to be pleased with that draw although it won't be easy as there are no easy games in the Champions League. We've played French opposition before and it's always tough. Didier Deschamps will be coming back and one of our players, Didier Drogba, will be going to his old club. We've played Žilina before – in a qualifier – and we've been to Moscow quite a lot in recent years.

Jean-Claude Dassier, Marseille president
It will be both very pleasant and satisfying to see Didier Drogba again at the Vélodrome, but he won't be alone. Chelsea are the benchmark. Those are two huge games. We have our chance to go through with our strengthened squad but there must be no complacency. The Champions League is never easy.

Nikita Bazhenov, Spartak striker
I'm happy we are in the same group as Chelsea. There's nothing else to say – everybody knows about this team. It will be interesting to play in England against a side featuring Yuri Zhirkov. Marseille are well known in Europe as well, and we know them too. Spartak played against them in early 2008. I don't know anything about Žilina, but you can't get to the Champions League group stage just through luck, so they must be strong too. We will fight hard and I believe we have a good chance of qualifying.

Pavel Hapal, Žilina coach
It's a tough group, but the games against Chelsea in particular will be a huge experience for us. I was keen to play against the Spanish clubs - Barcelona or Real - but this dream did not come true. Never mind. As for our chances, it's difficult to say. I don't know how we will get on, but we will be ready to fight.