Real Madrid CF's UEFA Champions League hopes were ended by French opposition last season but they will hope for better when their first Group G outing takes them to AJ Auxerre.
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Real Madrid CF's UEFA Champions League hopes last season were ended by French opposition with defeat by Olympique Lyonnais, but they will hope for better in their first away outing of 2010/11 at Group G rivals AJ Auxerre.
• Auxerre have never faced the Spanish giants before but with Stade de l'Abbé-Deschamps hosting UEFA Champions League football for the first time in eight years, they can take heart from the home play-off victory against FC Zenit St. Petersburg that took them into the group stage.
• The French side were beaten 2-0 at AC Milan on Matchday 1, Madrid running out 2-0 winners against AFC Ajax at Santiago Bernabéu the same night.
• Jean Fernandez's men produced an impressive display to beat Zenit through goals from Cédric Hengbart and Ireneusz Jeleń. In the process they doubled their club's home goals tally from their previous UEFA Champions League campaign in 2002/03 when Auxerre managed just one goal in four games in Burgundy, qualifying included.
• Madrid picked up seven points away from home in the 2009/10 group stage and six in 2008/09.
• Auxerre have faced Spanish opposition on home soil only four times previously and their record reads W1 D2 L1.
• That solitary victory came when they last met a Spanish team, beating Real Betis Balompié 2-0 in the second leg of a UEFA Cup third round tie in 2002/03. Teemu Tainio and Yann Lachuer got the goals that undid a 1-0 first-leg loss. Stéphane Grichting, an unused substitute, is the only survivor of that contest in today's Auxerre squad.
• Madrid's away record against French clubs is W3 D1 L6.
• In last term's competition they won 3-1 at Olympique de Marseille in the group stage – Cristiano Ronaldo (2) and Raúl Albiol scoring – but lost 1-0 at Lyon in the round of 16, ultimately suffering a 2-1 aggregate defeat.
• Madrid beat France's Stade de Reims 4-3 in the first European Champion Clubs' Cup final in Paris in 1956. They overcame the same opponents again in the 1959 showpiece in Stuttgart, winning 2-0.
• José Mourinho has won six and lost only one of nine previous matches against French clubs. His sole defeat came in the third round of FC Porto's victorious 2002/03 UEFA Cup campaign, the 1-0 loss at RC Lens not stopping Porto's progress 3-1 on aggregate.
• In the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League, his Porto team beat Marseille home and away in the group stage then bettered Lyon in the quarter-finals en route to winning the trophy with a 3-0 final defeat of another French side, AS Monaco FC, in Gelsenkirchen. With Chelsea FC in the following season's group stage, he oversaw a 3-0 win at Paris Saint-Germain FC followed by a 0-0 home draw.
• Grichting was in the Switzerland team that upset Spain 1-0 in Durban in the countries' opening game at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos were in the Spain lineup.
• Dariusz Dudka's Poland side were overwhelmed 6-0 by Spain in a pre-World Cup friendly in June.
• Dudka and Auxerre team-mate Jeleń are international colleagues of Jerzy Dudek.
• Ramos scored in Spain's 2-0 friendly win away to France in March.
• Karim Benzema struck just 23 seconds into Lyon's title-clinching win at Auxerre on the final day of the 2007/08 Ligue 1 season. Lyon's 3-1 victory secured a seventh successive French championship for Benzema's old club.
• Benzema and Mahamadou Diarra played alongside Benoît Pedretti at Lyon during 2005/06.
• Pedretti, during his sole season at Stade de Gerland, came on for the final four minutes of a 3-0 home win against Madrid in a group stage fixture in September 2005 – a match where Mahamadou Diarra played the full 90 minutes for Lyon. Pedretti was an unused substitute for the subsequent 1-1 draw in Madrid.
• Anthony Le Tallec played with Dudek at Liverpool FC between 2003 and 2005.
• Adama Coulibaly and Mahamadou Diarra are international team-mates with Mali.
• Lassana Diarra spent only one season in French football, with Le Havre AC in 2004/05.