After getting their first win on Matchday 4, AJ Auxerre are looking to turn that change of fortune into a full-scale revival although second-placed AC Milan also have the last 16 in their sights.
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After finally getting off the mark with a Matchday 4 win against AFC Ajax, AJ Auxerre will look to turn that change of fortune into a full-scale revival when they welcome AC Milan to Stade Abbé-Deschamps.
• Only two points separate second-placed Milan from their hosts, who are bottom of Group G, meaning Auxerre would overtake the Rossoneri if they avenge their 2-0 defeat at San Siro in September. Yet equally Milan, held by Real Madrid CF last time out, would finish Matchday 5 with a ticket to the last 16 – and confirm Auxerre's elimination – should they win and Ajax lose to Madrid in the section's other fixture.
• The clubs first met in a UEFA Cup first round tie in 1985/86. Auxerre came from a goal down to win 3-1 in France as Paolo Maldini, then 17, made his European debut but the Rossoneri turned the contest around at San Siro with a 3-0 triumph. Pietro Virdis sealed victory seven minutes from time with his third goal over the two games.
• Auxerre have recorded two wins out of three at home in this season's UEFA Champions League, sandwiching a defeat by Real Madrid with victories against FC Zenit St. Petersburg – 2-0 in the play-offs – and Ajax.
• Auxerre's most recent home game against Serie A opposition brought a 1-0 reverse against AS Livorno Calcio in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup group stage, a result which eliminated them from the competition.
• That was the third time the visit of an Italian team had precipitated their exit from Europe. Twice in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals they saw their hopes disappear at Stade Abbé-Deschamps: a 2-2 draw with an S.S. Lazio side including Alessandro Nesta confirmed a 3-2 overall loss in 1997/98, while a 1-0 reverse against ACF Fiorentina knocked them out 2-0 on aggregate in 1989/90.
• Massimiliano Allegri's visitors are hoping to book their place in the last 16 for the ninth time in the last 11 seasons. They last fell at this stage of the competition in 1999/2000.
• Milan last visited France for a 2-1 win at Olympique de Marseille on Matchday 1 of last season's UEFA Champions League, Filippo Inzaghi scoring both their goals. Their overall record in France is W3 D3 L4.
• Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez was assistant to Raymond Goethals when he led Marseille to victory against Milan in the 1993 UEFA Champions League final. He was also part of OM's coaching team when they defeated Milan in the quarter-finals in 1991 – the Rossoneri losing the second leg 1-0 at Stade Vélodrome on their first visit to France.
• Auxerre skipper Benoît Pedretti featured in Olympique Lyonnais' 2005/06 UEFA Champions League quarter-final defeat by Milan. He started the goalless first leg but was an unused substitute at San Siro where Lyon lost 3-1. He also appeared in that stadium for FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in a goalless UEFA Cup last-16 draw at FC Internazionale Milano in 2003/04, a result that eliminated his side on away goals.
• Anthony Le Tallec appeared in both legs of Liverpool FC's 2004/05 UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Juventus but played no part in the final against Milan in Istanbul.
• Flavio Roma played 203 Ligue 1 games for AS Monaco FC between 2001 and 2009, appearing in the 2004 UEFA Champions League final.
• Milan's French international Mathieu Flamini has spent only one season in Ligue 1, with Marseille in 2003/04. He is a former Under-21 team-mate of Le Tallec.
• Ronaldinho played for Paris Saint-Germain FC from 2001 to 2003 and finished on the losing side against Auxerre in the 2003 French Cup final.
• Robinho made his UEFA Champions League debut for Real Madrid in September 2005 in a 3-0 defeat by a Lyon side including Jérémy Berthod.
• Mario Yepes played in France from 2002 to 2008, first with FC Nantes and then with PSG for four seasons.