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Lyon prepare to welcome first Croatian visitors

Olympique Lyonnais have never faced a team from Croatia in a competitive fixture but that all changes on matchday two when GNK Dinamo Zagreb travel to Stade de Gerland.

Lyon coach Remi Garde
Lyon coach Remi Garde ©Getty Images

For their first home game in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League Olympique Lyonnais have a first taste of Croatian opposition when GNK Dinamo Zagreb come to France.

• Lyon opened their Group D campaign with a goalless draw at AFC Ajax, while Dinamo were beaten 1-0 at home by Real Madrid CF.

Match background
• Dinamo, competing in the group stage for the first time in 12 years, have a decent record in France. They were last there for a 2007/08 UEFA Cup group stage contest with Stade Rennais FC, drawing 1-1.

• It was one of three draws in their six visits. They have lost twice at AJ Auxerre, also the opponents against whom Dinamo gained their single victory. That 1-0 success came in the 1989/90 UEFA Cup preliminary round courtesy of Davor Šuker's goal.

• In each of the last five seasons Dinamo bowed out in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. This time the Croatian champions had to progress through three qualifying rounds to reach the group stage. They first disposed of Neftçi PFK in the second qualifying round thanks to a 3-0 home win in which Milan Badelj opened the scoring and Ivan Krstanović notched a second-half double. The away leg ended scoreless.

• In the third qualifying round an own goal and Sammir's strike overturned HJK Helsinki's early lead in Finland. Dinamo then secured a 1-0 home win courtesy of Luis Ibáñez's goal in added time.

• In the play-off round Dinamo gained a healthy advantage in the home first leg, beating Malmö FF 4-1. Sammir scored twice with Ante Rukavina and Fatos Beqiraj also on target. It proved just enough of an advantage after Malmö's 2-0 win in Sweden, a game in which Šime Vrsaljko was sent off on 50 minutes.

• In the play-off round, Lyon recovered from an early FC Rubin Kazan goal to take a 3-1 lead from the first leg through strikes from Bafétimbi Gomis and Jimmy Briand either side of an own goal. That was sufficient to go through to the group stage for the 12th straight year with the away leg ending all square, Bakary Koné heading in late on to make it 1-1 on the night.

• In last season's competition Lyon reached the knockout rounds for the eighth successive edition but found Real Madrid too strong in the round of 16, the Spanish team drawing 1-1 in France before winning 3-0 at home. In the group stage the Gones beat FC Schalke 04 1-0 and SL Benfica 2-0 at Stade de Gerland and fought out a 2-2 draw with Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC.

• They have twice lost to FC Bayern München in their last 19 home fixtures in the competition, including the play-off round, but are otherwise unbeaten, winning ten and drawing seven of the other 17 games.

• In their six away games in the 1998/99 and 1999/2000 group stages, Dinamo gained one victory – 1-0 at AFC Ajax on 25 November 1998 – and two draws.

Team ties
• Dejan Lovren came through Dinamo's youth system before joining Lyon in January 2010.

• Dinamo coach Krunoslav Jurčić was an unused substitute as Croatia beat Germany 3-0 at Stade de Gerland in the 1998 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals. He made three starting appearances in the tournament in which Croatia finished third.

• Jerko Leko scored at the stadium on 12 April 2009 as AS Monaco FC drew 2-2 with Lyon in Ligue 1.

• Leandro Cufré was at Monaco between summer 2006 and January 2009, losing three of four games against Lyon; at Stade de Gerland his team recorded a draw and a defeat.

• Nikola Pokrivač spent 18 months at Monaco between January 2008 and summer 2009, losing both home games against Lyon but his sole visit to Stade de Gerland was that 2-2 draw in April 2009, when he was a late substitute.

• Lovren played for Croatia alongside Josip Šimunić and Domagoj Vida against France on 29 March 2011 in a friendly international in Paris that ended goalless. On the opposite side were Hugo Lloris, Anthony Réveillère and Yoann Gourcuff.

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