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Focus on opposition as Premier League quartet return to Champions League action

RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – Second Leg – Red Bull Arena
(Image credit: John Walton)

English clubs are back in Champions League action again this week as the final round of group stage matches takes place.

Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea have already guaranteed their places in the knockout stages but Manchester United still have work to do in Germany against RB Leipzig if they are to join their Premier League rivals in the round of 32.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the opposition clubs.

Coaches

RB Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur – UEFA Champions League – Round of 16 – Second Leg – Red Bull Arena

RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann guided the German club to the semi finals of the Champions League last season (John Walton/PA)

RB Leipzig: The German club are managed by one of the most highly-rated coaches in Europe, Julian Nagelsmann. Still only 33, Nagelsmann came to prominence at Hoffenheim and has continue to enhance his reputation at Leipzig, who he took to last season’s Champions League semi-finals.

FK Krasnodar: Formerly in charge of the club’s under-19 side, Murad Musayev was appointed as head coach in June.

Marseille: Andre Villas-Boas will be familiar to fans of English football, having managed in the Premier League at Chelsea and Tottenham. He has been in charge at the Stade Velodrome since May 2019. Villas-Boas won the Europa League with Porto in 2011.

FC Midtjylland: Former Denmark international defender Brian Priske served as assistant at Midtjylland and Copenhagen from 2011 to 2019. When Kenneth Andersen resigned as boss of the Danish club in August 2019, Priske succeeded him.

European pedigree

RB Leipzig: The club, formed in 2009, hit a new high in Europe last season by reaching the Champions League semi-finals. They beat Tottenham home and away in the round of 16 and saw off Atletico Madrid before losing 3-0 to Paris St Germain.

FK Krasnodar: Founded just 12 years ago, the Russian club are also making their Champions League debut.

Marseille: The French club won the Champions League in 1993, having been beaten in the final of the then-European Cup two years before. Marseille are making their 10th appearance in the Champions League group stage, but their first since the 2013-14 season.

FC Midtjylland: The Danish club, founded in 1999, are making their first appearance in the Champions League.

Form

RB Leipzig: Nagelsmann’s side are third in the Bundesliga just two points behind reigning champions and leaders Bayern Munich, whom they led twice against at the weekend in a 3-3 draw at the Allianz Arena.

FK Krasnodar: The Bulls come into the match on the back of a comprehensive 5-0 victory against Rotor Volgograd on Saturday but they remain well off the pace in the Russian league, sitting eighth in the table.

Marseille: A 2-0 victory at Nimes at the weekend extended Marseille’s winning run to three matches in all competitions. Villas-Boas’ team are fourth in Ligue 1 but have two games in hand on the sides above them and would top the table if they won both.

FC Midtjylland: A first win in four games in all competitions at the weekend kept the Danish club top of their league.

Previous meetings

RB Leipzig: October’s 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture was the first meeting between the two clubs.

FK Krasnodar: The 4-0 home loss to Chelsea on matchday two was the first time the two sides had played.

Marseille: The 3-0 home loss earlier in the group stage was the first meeting between the two teams.

FC Midtjylland: The reverse fixture at Anfield was the first time the two sides had met.