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Marseille v Apollon facts

Marseille and Apollon have endured a tough campaign as they meet, each looking to avoid finishing bottom of Group H.

Bouna Sarr and Marseille are looking to end a tough campaign with a win
Bouna Sarr and Marseille are looking to end a tough campaign with a win ©AFP/Getty Images

With both Marseille and Apollon Limassol out of contention to qualify from UEFA Europa League Group H, the only remaining issue to be resolved as they go head to head at the Stade Vélodrome is which of the two clubs will finish bottom.

• Marseille amassed 19 UEFA Europa League matches last season, but they will be restricted to just six this term, last season's runners-up having taken just one point from their five group games and needing to sign off with a win against Apollon to avoid the Group H wooden spoon.

• Apollon are three points better off than Marseille, but having drawn 2-2 at home with the French club in Cyprus, they must avoid defeat in the return to remain in third place. They should go into the game with some confidence, however, having finally ended a competition-record 15-game winless run by defeating Lazio 2-0 in Nicosia on their last outing.

Highlights: Apollon 2-2 Marseille

Previous meetings
• Marseille's only point in the group came from their matchday two draw at Apollon. It would have been three but for a spirited late fightback from their hosts, who came from two goals down to draw with a 90th-minute equaliser from Emilio Zelaya. That was the first time the clubs had met in UEFA competition.

• Marseille's only previous home fixture against Cypriot opposition was a 5-1 win against Apollon's local rivals AEL Limassol in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League. However, as now, OM did not qualify from their group.

• Apollon have lost both of their two previous games in France without scoring, a 4-0 defeat at Lyon in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage still fresh in the memory.

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.

Watch Marseille concede four on matchday five

• 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. However, they have lost both Stade Vélodrome fixtures in this season's campaign, against Eintracht Frankfurt (1-2) and Lazio (1-3).

• Domestic runners-up in league and cup last term, Apollon's sixth successive season in the UEFA Europa League kicked off in the first qualifying round, where they got the better of Lithuania's Stumbras before ousting Željezničar of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dinamo Brest of Belarus and, on away goals in the play-offs, Basel.

• Apollon have been in three previous UEFA Europa League group campaigns – a fourth is a record for a Cypriot club – but have never progressed beyond this stage, finishing third in their section in 2013/14 and fourth in both 2014/15 and 2017/18.

• The Limassol club have lost seven of their last eight European away fixtures, and all of the last four. Their away record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W1 D1 L9, the win having come in their first such fixture, 1-0 at Legia Warszawa on matchday two of the 2013/14 campaign.

See Apollon end long winless run last time out

Links and trivia 
• Fotis Papoulis is one goal away from becoming Apollon's joint top scorer in Europe alongside Milenko Špoljarić (11).

• Apollon's Burkina Faso international defender Dylan Ouedraogo was born in Marseille. Other French-born players who have appeared for the Cypriot club in this group stage are Kévin Bru, David Faupala, Valentin Roberge and Richard Soumah.

• Apollon are one of four clubs to have reached this season's group stage after starting their campaign in the first qualifying round. The others are FC København, Rangers and Sarpsborg, all of whom, unlike Apollon, can still progress further in the competition.

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.

• Sofronis Avgousti has coached home-town team Apollon since December 2016, when, as caretaker, he led the club to victory in each of his first eight league matches and to a successful defence of the Cypriot Cup. He has since steered them into back-to-back UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns. Capped 11 times by Cyprus, he previously served the Limassol club in three separate spells as a goalkeeper and was also on the books of AEK Larnaca, Aris Limassol and APOEL.