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Marseille out to end Olympiacos challenge

The knockout rounds are in reach for Olympique de Marseille for only the second time in seven attempts and another Group F victory against Olympiacos FC would further boost their chances.

Didier Deschamps' Marseille are second in Group F
Didier Deschamps' Marseille are second in Group F ©Getty Images

Olympique de Marseille can secure a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds for only the second time in seven attempts if they beat Olympiacos FC and Borussia Dortmund drop points at Arsenal FC.

• The Greek champions will themselves be hoping to stay in Group F contention. A defeat coupled with a Dortmund victory would end their European adventure for another year.

• The decisive blow in the 13 September fixture between the teams at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium was struck by Marseille midfielder Lucho González in the 51st minute.

• Marseille followed that narrow success with a 3-0 home victory against Dortmund but a 1-0 defeat by Arsenal at the Stade Vélodrome then deflated French optimism. Two weeks later Didier Deschamps' charges battled to a goalless draw at the Arsenal Stadium.

• Olympiacos lost 2-1 at Arsenal on matchday two and, though a 3-1 win against Dortmund in Piraeus revived their campaign, the Greek champions slipped to the bottom of the section after a 1-0 reverse in Germany last time out.

Previous meetings
• These teams had previously met on only one occasion, the 1994/95 UEFA Cup first round when Marseille won 2-1 in Greece and 3-0 at home.

• Olympiacos have lost eight of 11 games on French soil, five of them (including the last three) 2-1. They have recorded two victories, most recently 1-0 at FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup round of 32.

• Marseille's only other experience of a home game against Greek opponents also ended in victory, 2-0 against AEK Athens FC in the 1989/90 European Champion Clubs' Cup second round.

Match background
• Marseille are in their fifth successive UEFA Champions League participation and their eighth in all. Between lifting the trophy in 1993 and last season's round of 16 defeat by Manchester United FC, they only advanced beyond the initial group stage once, reaching the second group stage in 1999/2000.

• Olympiacos have reached the knockout rounds on their last two UEFA Champions League appearances, in 2007/08 and 2009/10.

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 SC Bastia and was at Monaco between 2004 and 2010. His coach in his first season there was Deschamps; 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, the latter playing 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 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 2007/08.

• Franco Costanzo and Lucho were team-mates at CA River Plate from 2002 to 2005 and play for Argentina.

• Loïc Rémy's France drew 0-0 in a Paris friendly against Belgium on 15 November; Mirallas came on a substitute for the visitors.

• 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 and Alou Diarra were 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 at Olympiacos in the first group stage in October 2001.

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