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Sparta scrap for Lyon success

Tuesday 13 November 2012 20.32 CET
Sparta coach Vítězslav Lavička

AC Sparta Praha will look to rein in the side with the best record in the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League group stage as Olympique Lyonnais return to Prague in Group I.

• Sparta need just one more point to confirm their place in the round of 32, but would go through regardless in the event of a draw between Hapoel Kiryat Shmona FC and Athletic Club in the other Group I game. Lyon need a point to be sure of finishing top of the group.

Previous meetings
• Lyon beat Sparta 2-1 at home on matchday one, with Bafétimbi Gomis heading their opener and setting up Lisandro for their second three minutes later before Ladislav Krejčí (77) pulled one back for Sparta.

• The sides had met for the first time in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage, with Paul Le Guen's Lyon beating František Straka's team 2-1 in Prague and then 5-0 at home – one of the three heaviest defeats in Sparta's European history.

• The teams for that first encounter in Prague on 28 September 2004 were:
Blažek, Pergl, Sivok, Zelenka (Baranek 82), Poborský, Čech (Voříšek 46), Urbánek, Kováč, Pacanda (Střihavka 62), Jun, Homola.
Lyon: Coupet, Cris, Essien, Caçapa, Diarra, Juninho (Diatta 83), Malouda, Réveillère*, Govou (Nilmar 85), Wiltord (Frau 73), Berthod.

• The teams for the return fixture in Lyon on 8 December 2004 were:
Lyon: Puydebois, Essien, Diarra (Gomez 56), Malouda (Idangar 67), Nilmar, Réveillère*, Frau, Diatta, Bergougnoux, Berthod (Truchet 81), Clément.
Sparta: Blažek, Labant (Urbánek 28), Sivok, Zelenka, Poborský, Voříšek, Kováč, Šimák (Meduna 65), Petráš, Jun (Pacanda 79), Homola.

* registered to play for the club in 2012/13.

Match background
• Sparta's record in eight fixtures against French sides reads W2 D2 L4 (W1 D1 L1 at home – W1 D1 L3 in France).

• Sparta are the only Czech club that Lyon have beaten; their record in five games against Czech opponents reads W3 D1 L1 (W2 D1 L0 at home – W1 D0 L1 in the Czech Republic).

• The Czech club are unbeaten in ten UEFA home games (W6 D4) since a 2-0 loss to MŠK Žilina in the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League play-offs. They have scored at least twice in all of their European home games this season.

• Lyon have won both of their group stage away games this season, scoring seven but conceding five goals in the process.

Team facts
• Lyon are the group stage's top scorers with 11 goals so far and the only side to have reached matchday five with a full complement of 12 points.

• Vitězslav Lavička represented Sparta in three spells as a midfielder in the 1980s and 1990s, and is now in his second term as the club's coach, following a spell in charge in 2008. Once coach of the Czech Under-21 side, he won the Australian title with Sydney FC in 2009/10 before returning to Prague in 2012.

• 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.

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