Ahead of United's trip to Marseille, French football expert Bruno Rozga gives us the lowdown on the Reds' Champions League last 16 opponents - starting with a profile of L'OM manager, Didier Deschamps...
Didier Deschamps may have been born 350 miles to the West in Bayonne, but Marseille is where he made his name.
He is an icon at the Stade Vélodrome for captaining the club to Champions League victory in 1993 (the first competition under the new format). After moving on to enjoy further European glory as a player (three finals with Juventus and one with Valencia) and experiencing management with Monaco (where he reached another Champions League final) and Juve, Deschamps returned to Marseille as manager in summer 2009.
In his debut season he led the club to their first league title for 18 years. Imagine Kenny Dalglish taking Liverpool to a Premier League and League Cup double next season and you get an idea of the fan delirium that overtook the Marseillais in 2009/10.
Deschamps has restored pride to the Canebière quayside, the beating heart of the great port city in the Provençale region. And now the locals can enjoy a place back at Europe’s top table once more.
At last, with progress to the knockout phase, Marseille’s fans feel as if they are back in ‘real’ European competition, and the Vélodrome (the chaudron, or ‘cauldron’) will be cooking on Wednesday night.