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Benfica bidding to outstrip OM

SL Benfica and Olympique de Marseille will lock horns for the first time since contesting a European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final 20 years ago when they meet in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.

Benfica have been in prolific form at home in the competition this term
Benfica have been in prolific form at home in the competition this term ©Getty Images

SL Benfica have not met Olympique de Marseille since the semi-finals of the 1989/90 European Champion Clubs' Cup, and will hope the result of that tie augurs well for their UEFA Europa League round of 16 meeting.

Previous meetings
• In that encounter, Sven-Göran Eriksson's Benfica beat Gérard Gili's Marseille on away goals, following a 2-1 away defeat and a 1-0 home win.

• The teams for the second leg in Lisbon on 18 April 1990 were:
Benfica: Silvino, José Carlos, Samuel, Veloso, Aldair, Thern (Vata, 53), Vítor Paneira, Hernâni, Lima (Pacheco, 53), Valdo, Magnusson.
Marseille: Castaneda, Amoros, Di Meco (Diallo, 87), Sauzée, Mozer, Germain, Deschamps, Tigana, Papin, Francescoli, Waddle (Vercruysse, 77).

• Current Marseille coach Didier Deschamps played in both legs.

• Benfica went on to lose the final 1-0 to AC Milan in Vienna, Frank Rijkaard scoring the only goal.

Match background
• Benfica's record in 16 European games against French opposition reads W7 D4 L5 (W5 D3 L0 at home).

• Since meeting Portuguese opponents for the first time in that semi-final against Benfica, Marseille have twice been pooled with FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Their record in six matches against Portuguese sides reads W1 D1 L4 (W0 D0 L3 in Portugal). They have not won in their last five meetings with Portuguese Liga opponents.

• Benfica have won all five of their European home outings this season, with a 4-0 triumph over Hertha BSC Berlin in the round of 32 bringing their Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica aggregate scoreline up to 17-1 for 2009/10. They are thus averaging well over three goals in every home game.

• Marseille are unbeaten in their last three away missions – two wins and a draw – since losing 3-0 at Real Madrid CF in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage.

Team facts
• The winners of the final two editions of the UEFA Cup (FC Zenit St. Petersburg in 2007/08 and FC Shakhtar Donetsk in 2008/09) both beat Marseille in the knockout phase en route to their final successes.

• Marseille midfielder Lucho González is returning to Portugal for the first time since he left Porto in the summer. The Argentinian was a popular player at the Estádio do Dragão, earning the nickname 'El Comandante' (The Commandant) for his influence on team-mates.

• Benfica forward Weldon played with Marseille's Souleymane Diawara at FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in the 2005/06 season.

• Benfica's Spanish midfielder Javi García could find himself up against team-mates from his days at Real Madrid: he played alongside Fernando Morientes in the 2004/05 campaign and served with Gabriel Heinze during the 2008/09 season.

• Argentinian defender Heinze, who will miss both legs due to a leg injury, spent part of the 1998/99 season at Portuguese outfit Sporting Clube de Portugal.

• César Peixoto took on Marseille with Porto, featuring in a 3-2 UEFA Champions League group-stage win in France on 22 October 2003.

• Benfica's Óscar Cardozo is the UEFA Europa League's second most prolific scorer this season with six goals. Fernando Llorente of eliminated Athletic Club boasts the same total, while Werder Bremen's Claudio Pizarro leads the pack on eight.

• Benfica's Ángel Di María has produced more assists than any player since the start of the group stage, setting up a total of six strikes.

• The tie concludes at the Stade Vélodrome on 18 March. The draw for the quarter-finals will be staged the following day.