Marseille and Milan, the teams who contested the first Champions League final in 1993, will face each other in a competitive fixture for the first time since then in Group C’s opening game.
Marseille coach Didier Deschamps, who captained Marseille to that triumph 16 years ago, is expecting a tough game tonight.
“Milan are Milan; they have very experienced players, they are motivated,” he said. “It’s up to us to give them a difficult game.
“(Milan coach) Leonardo has players who are used to playing these kinds of games. As far as I am concerned, I do not need to motivate my players. We have a chance to make history and I hope that history will be as happy as in 1993.
“We will have to be well positioned and cautious because Milan will want to come here for a result. Playing against Italian teams is always difficult because they defend very well. They have a winning tradition and playing Milan, Inter and Juve is always something.”
Deschamps, who well versed in Italian football following spells as a player and manager of Juventus, will be missing the injured pair Bakari Kone and Garry Bocaly.
After a poor start to the domestic campaign, newly-appointed Milan coach, Leonardo, will see tonight’s game as an opportunity to kick-start the club’s season.
“I have no doubts my team has got a strong structure,” said the Brazilian. “Marseille is a very good team that can play well together, and with a lot of strong points. They will run a lot, they will play with a lot of enthusiasm in front of a full stadium. They finished second in the French league and they will want to prove that they deserve to be here.
“As far as we are concerned, we have the talent; we now have to find a balance. The Champions League is an extraordinary competition, and after watching it on TV last year, we are now in it again. It is time to play.
“Winning on Tuesday is not crucial but it is important. The tradition between these two teams is big, but today is another day. We have to look at the present day even if the past is still in our minds.”
Leonardo will be without Christian Abbiati, Davide Di Gennaro, Gennaro Gattuso and Marco Borriello.