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Olympiacos set their sights on mastering Marseille

Olympiacos FC reached the knockout rounds on their last two UEFA Champions League appearances and, starting against Olympique de Marseille, they will be looking to repeat that feat.

Olympiacos are hoping for a positive start at home
Olympiacos are hoping for a positive start at home ©AFP

On their last appearance in the UEFA Champions League, in 2009/10, Olympiacos FC progressed from the group stage for only the third time in 12 participations. They hope to at least match that achievement as they begin a new campaign at home to Olympique de Marseille.

Previous meetings
• The teams have met only once, in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup first round when the French side completed an emphatic 5-1 aggregate victory, winning 2-1 in Greece and 3-0 at home.

• Olympiacos have lost their last three home games against French opponents, most recently in the 2009/10 round of 16 when they went down 1-0 to FC Girondins de Bordeaux. Previously they were unbeaten in seven home contests, winning five and drawing two.

• Marseille's only other experience of a Greek team also ended in victory, the French side winning 2-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away against AEK Athens FC in the 1989/90 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round.

Match background
• Olympiacos are in their 13th participation in the UEFA Champions League having missed out last season. Between 1997 and 2008 they competed in the competition in 11 successive years.

• In 2009/10 the Greek champions finished second in their group, three points behind Arsenal FC. At home they won all three games but departed in the round of 16, losing 1-0 to Bordeaux in Athens and 2-1 away.

• Marseille are in their fifth successive participation in the competition and their eighth in all. In the period between lifting the trophy in 1993 and their efforts last season, they only advanced beyond the initial group stage on one occasion, reaching the second group stage in 1999/2000.

• Last season they finished second in their pool, three points behind Chelsea FC. They lost 2-0 at Chelsea on matchday two but then won 7-0 away to MŠK Žilina – a record UEFA Champions League away victory – and 3-0 at FC Spartak Moskva. They lost 2-1 away to Manchester United FC in the round of 16 having drawn 0-0 at home.

Team ties
• Didier Deschamps was AS Monaco FC's coach when they played Olympiacos in the 2004/05 group stage, Monaco winning 2-1 at home but losing 1-0 in Greece.

• François Modesto started his career in 1997 at French side SC Bastia and had six seasons at Monaco between 2004 and 2010. His coach in his first season there was Deschamps, while later he was a team-mate of Nicolas N'Koulou and Djimi Traoré.

• N'Koulou is a team-mate of Jean Makoun in the Cameroon national team, while the latter played alongside Benoît Cheyrou at LOSC Lille Métropole between 2001 and 2004.

• Kevin Mirallas started his career with Lille, scoring twice at Stade Vélodrome in 2008 in a 3-1 victory against OM. He joined AS Saint-Étienne in summer 2008, signing for Olympiacos two years later.

• Rafik Djebbour was first a professional at AJ Auxerre while fellow Algerian Djamel Abdoun played for AC Ajaccio, CS Sedan Ardennes (loan) and FC Nantes, featuring for the latter in a 2-0 defeat at Stade Vélodrome in March 2009. Abdoun played alongside Morgan Amalfitano at Sedan in the 2007/08 season.

• Franco Costanzo and Lucho González were team-mates at CA River Plate between 2002 and 2005.

• Iván Marcano and César Azpilicueta were in the Spain squad at the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

• Marko Pantelić, who spent 1997/98 with Paris Saint-Germain FC, played for Serbia in a 2-1 defeat by France in Paris in a FIFA World Cup qualifier in September 2008; Steve Mandanda was in the home team.

• Alou Diarra, then of Bordeaux, was sent off in the 2-1 second-leg win against Olympiacos in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League round of 16.

• Cheyrou was part of the Lille team that lost 2-1 to Olympiacos in Athens in the first group stage in October 2001.

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