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Marseille v Lazio background

Last season's finalists Marseille have started Group H slowly as they take on Lazio, who suffered a heavy defeat last time out.

Luiz Gustavo and Marseille have work to do in Group H
Luiz Gustavo and Marseille have work to do in Group H ©AFP/Getty Images

Last season's UEFA Europa League runners-up Marseille will be keen to get their 2018/19 campaign back on track after a disappointing start to Group H as they host competition regulars Lazio at the Stade Vélodrome.

• Despite taking the lead in both of their opening two fixtures, Marseille have only one point on the board, a 1-2 home defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt followed by a 2-2 draw at Apollon Limassol. Lazio beat Apollon 2-1 at home on matchday one but had two players sent off in a 4-1 defeat in Frankfurt last time out.

Previous meetings
• Lazio, and in particular Simone Inzaghi, have happy memories of their two UEFA Champions League second group stage meetings with Marseille in 1999/2000, a 2-0 win in the south of France preceding a 5-1 victory at Rome's Stadio Olimpico. Lazio's current head coach scored four goals in the latter match, becoming only the second player to achieve that feat in the UEFA Champions League after Marco van Basten in 1992/93 – the season in which Marseille went on to defeat the Dutchman's Milan side in the inaugural final.

• Marseille overcame Lazio in the semi-final of the 2005 UEFA Intertoto Cup (1-1 away, 3-0 home) and have a home record of W5 D1 L3 against Italian visitors, though two of the last three such fixtures have ended in defeat.

• Lazio have won three times in nine visits to France, most recently 3-1 at Marseille's local rivals Nice on matchday three of last season's UEFA Europa League, Sergej Milinković-Savić scoring a double.

Highlights: Apollon 2-2 Marseille

Form guide
• Marseille finished fourth in last season's Ligue 1 to claim an immediate return to the UEFA Europa League.

• This is the Cote d'Azur club's fourth UEFA Europa League group stage participation. They failed to reach the knockout phase at the first attempt, in 2012/13, but managed to do so in 2015/16 and 2017/18, going all the way in the latter to the final in Lyon, where they lost 3-0 to Atlético Madrid. They were runners-up also in the 1998/99 and 2003/04 UEFA Cups, the first of them to Italian club Parma.

• Marseille staged ten UEFA Europa League matches at home last season – from the third qualifying round to the semi-finals – and won nine of them. The only team to deny them victory at the Stade Vélodrome were Salzburg – 0-0 in the group stage – but OM remedied that by defeating the same opponents 2-0 there in the first leg of the semi-final.

• Edged out of fourth place and into fifth in last season's Serie A by Internazionale on the final day, Lazio are back for a seventh venture into the UEFA Europa League, their best performances having been in 2012/13 and 2017/18, when they reached the quarter-finals.

• The Rome side have played more games in the competition than any other Italian club, this being their 59th – and 39th in the group stage. Their last five group stage participations have all been successful – after failures in the first two – and they have topped their section on three of those occasions.

• Runners-up to Inter in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup, Lazio had three wins and three losses on the road in last season's UEFA Europa League, the matchday six defeat at Zulte Waregem ending the club's competition record-equalling run of 11 away games unbeaten (W4 D7) that had lasted since October 2013. The Biancocelesti have now lost four of their last five on the road in this competition.

Highlights: Eintracht 4-1 Lazio

Links and trivia 
• Marseille's Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman played with Lazio's city rivals Roma between 2013 and 2018. He faced Lazio seven times in Serie A, earning three victories and three draws and scoring in a 2-0 win in 2016/17. Marseille boss Rudi Garcia was Strootman's coach with the Giallorossi between June 2013 and January 2016.

• Other OM players with Serie A experience are Lucas Ocampos (Genoa, Milan), Rolando (Napoli, Inter) and Adil Rami (Milan), while Lazio defender Wallace had two seasons in French football at Monaco.

• Duje Ćaleta-Car (Marseille) and Valon Berisha (Lazio) were team-mates – and three-time Austrian title-winners – at Salzburg from 2015 to 2018. Ćaleta-Car and fellow Croatian Milan Badelj are international team-mates, as are Luiz Gustavo and Lucas Leiva (Brazil) and Nemanja Radonjić and Milinković-Savić (Serbia).

• The red cards shown to Dušan Basta and Joaquín Correa against Eintracht Frankfurt mean that Lazio have joined FCSB, Dynamo Kyiv and Sporting CP as the club with the most sendings-off (ten) in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final.

The coaches
• Marseille coach since October 2016, Rudi Garcia started out as a midfielder at LOSC Lille, returning to coach the club between 2008 and 2013 and masterminding their Ligue 1/Coupe de France double in 2010/11. He subsequently spent two and a half seasons in charge of Roma, leading the Giallorossi to back-to-back runners-up spots in Serie A. In 2017/18 he steered OM from the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League all the way to the final in Lyon, where they were defeated by Atlético Madrid.

• Lazio boss since April 2016, when he replaced Stefano Pioli, Simone Inzaghi represented the club as a forward between 1999 and 2010, winning the Italian double in his debut season and the Coppa Italia twice more in later years. The younger brother of fellow ex-Italian international Filippo Inzaghi, with whom he played at home-town outfit Piacenza, he began coaching Lazio's youth teams immediately after hanging up his boots. His first trophy as coach was the 2017 Italian Super Cup.