On Tuesday, a winless Marseille side will face Portuguese Primeira Liga team Sporting Lisbon at the Stade Velodrome in the UEFA Champions League (UCL).
Les Olympiens sit at the bottom of Group D, having lost their first two games without scoring, whereas Leoes have a perfect record and have yet to concede.
Igor Tudor’s first season as manager of Marseille has been a resounding success, with his team amassing 23 points after nine games.
Unfortunately, their form in Europe has been anything but successful, as they come into this match having lost 16 of their previous 17 Champions League encounters, failing to score in 11 games.
Not only has this rivalry given them a lot of pain in recent seasons, but they’ve also had little success versus Portuguese rivals, losing six of their last eight Champions League games against Primeira Liga clubs.
Their last victory over a Portuguese team came in the first leg of the 1989-90 semi-final, when they defeated Benfica 2-1 when the tournament was known as the European Cup.
The current Ligue 1 runners-up, who typically build from the back and prefer to weave together many passes, have struggled to find a rhythm in their two Champions League games this season.
Marseille remain unbeaten at home this season, surrendering one goal or fewer in each game, but their previous Champions League success came at the Stade Velodrome in 2020-21, when they defeated Olympiacos 2-1.
Sporting Lisbon, who have won five of their last six UCL games at this stage of the campaign, is a side that has been in a long Champions League slump and one that has caught fire in this tournament.
Ruben Amorim’s men put themselves in a difficult situation from the start in 2021-22, losing their first two matches before rallying to finish second in their group.
It looks like they learned a lot from that poor start as they have been sparkling after two matches this time around, blanking the reigning Europa League champions (Eintracht Frankfurt) 3-0 and following that up with a 2-0 victory versus Tottenham, a side who were undefeated in the Premier League before losing to Arsenal (3-1) last weekend.
All five of their goals in the 2022-23 Champions League have come in the second half, and they have a perfect record this season both domestically and in Europe while leading at the break.
Eight of their 11 league goals have come on the road, and they began this campaign with their first Champions League clean sheet away from home since a 1-0 win over Basel in December 2008.
Sporting hasn’t faced a French opponent on the European level since the 2010-11 Europa League group stage, when they beat Lille twice (2-1 away, 1-0 at home).