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Lyon out to protect unbeaten run

Olympique Lyonnais can improve on a UEFA Europa League-leading record when they entertain eliminated Group I rivals Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC at Stade de Gerland on matchday six.

Lyon out to protect unbeaten run
Lyon out to protect unbeaten run ©AFP/Getty Images

Olympique Lyonnais have already secured top spot in UEFA Europa League Group I and will look to continue their impressive run of form against eliminated debutants Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC.

Group I permutations
Lyon are through as group winners.

• AC Sparta Praha are through as runners-up.

Kiryat Shmona and Athletic Club are out.

Previous meetings
• Lyon won 4-3 on matchday two as Kiryat Shmona's first game against French opponents ended in an agonising loss. Shimon Abuhazira gave the hosts an early lead, but three goals in 14 minutes meant Lyon took a 3-1 advantage into the break. Kiryat Shmona roused themselves and pulled level thanks to a Lior Levi strike and Abuhazira's penalty, only for Gueïda Fofana's header two minutes into added time to snatch victory for the Ligue 1 club.

• Lyon's only prior experience of Israeli opposition came in the group stage of the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League, when they won 3-1 at Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC then drew 2-2 at home in the return fixture.

Match background
• Regulars in the UEFA Champions League, Lyon are making their debut in this stage of the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League. Matchday one's 2-1 win against AC Sparta Praha was their first game in this competition since they bowed out to Denizlispor in the third round of the 2002/03 UEFA Cup.

• Lyon have won both of their UEFA Europa League home games this season by the same scoreline: 2-1. They are unbeaten in their last four European games at the Stade de Gerland (W3 D1).

• Kiryat Shmona have been alternating draws and defeats on the road for six games since winning their first ever European away game 3-0 at FK Mogren in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup first qualifying round. If that pattern is to continue, they are due a draw in Lyon.

Team facts
• With 13 points going into matchday six, Lyon share highest total in this season's group stage with Fenerbahçe SK, FC Metalist Kharkiv and FC Rubin Kazan.

• Kiryat Shmona are the brightest starters in the group stage, with three of their six goals coming in the first 15 minutes.

• Rémi Garde replaced Claude Puel as Lyon coach in June 2011, having worked behind the scenes as a coach and assistant manager since 2003, and also as a television pundit after hanging up his boots. Capped six times, Garde played as a defender for Lyon and then RC Strasbourg, finishing his career in England at Arsenal FC.

• Kiryat Shmona changed coaches on the eve of matchday two, with Gili Landau standing aside after just over three months in charge, to be replaced by his assistant Barak Bakhar. The former defender, who only turned 33 in September, played for the club from 2004 to 2011, and this is his first senior coaching appointment.

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