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Marseille wary of AEL challenge

Olympique de Marseille will be mindful of what befell Olympique Lyonnais last season as AEL Limassol FC make a first trip to France in UEFA Europa League Group C.

Marseille have shown good domestic form
Marseille have shown good domestic form ©Getty Images

After seeing Ligue 1 colleagues Olympique Lyonnais slip up against Cypriot opponents last season, Olympique de Marseille will be doubly cautious when they come up against AEL Limassol FC.

Previous meetings
• The sides are meeting for the first time. This is Marseille's first game against Cypriot opponents and AEL's first meeting with a club from France.

• French and Cypriot sides have met in seven previous UEFA competition contests, with the French clubs having the better of them, sporting the record W5 D1 L1 (W3 D0 L0 at home – W2 D1 L1 away). That run includes a 10-1 away win for AJ Auxerre at Nea Salamis FC in the 1997 UEFA Cup.

• APOEL FC struck a substantial blow for Cypriot football last season, trading 1-0 home wins with Olympique Lyonnais in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 then beating the French club on penalties in Nicosia.

Match background
• Marseille are unbeaten in five European games this season, though three of them – including the last two – have ended in draws.

• Marseille are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the first time since 2005/06, when they went all the way to the round of 16, losing out to FC Zenit St Petersburg.

• Cypriot champions AEL are making their debut in a UEFA competition group stage, after losing out in the UEFA Champions League play-offs to RSC Anderlecht.

• AEL have scored only once in their last five European away games, but that goal was a winner – in a 1-0 victory at FK Partizan in this season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Team facts
• AEL's Marios Nikolaou turns 29 on the day of the match.

• Marseille coach Élie Baup's goalkeeping career ended when he was in a car accident at the age of 20, but he stayed on in the game as a youth coach, moving up to the senior ranks to take charge of AS Saint-Étienne before winning the 1998/99 Ligue 1 title with FC Girondins de Bordeaux. Having coached Toulouse FC and FC Nantes, he became a TV pundit before taking charge at OM in summer 2012.

• AEL coach Pambos Christodoulou was a midfielder with Olympiakos Nicosia FC and AEK Larnaca FC in the 1990s, returning to his first club Doxa Katokopia FC to start his coaching career in the mid-2000s. He took his attacking style – and Portuguese forward Henrique – with him to Olympiakos and then AEL, winning the Cypriot title in his first campaign with the latter in 2011/12.

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