Apparently unbalanced, the European duel which will pit Lyon against Juventus in the knockout stages of the Champions League, will actually see a feverish Rhone team at home welcoming an old lady who has been traveling poorly since late January.
A few days before their duel in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League, Wednesday at OL Park, Juventus Turin and Olympique Lyonnais recorded crucial successes in their respective championships. Juventus thus retained the head of the Serie A by going to beat Spal (1-2) without shining, Saturday in Ferrara, during the 25th day of Serie A. An expected success against the red lantern, which allows the Bianconeri to keep a small point ahead of the Lazio Rome.
In the 1000th game of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his eleventh goal in 11 consecutive league games. Facing OL, the five-fold stainless Ballon d’Or will obviously be the number one danger for the Rhone defense. Determined to offer a European title to Juve, deprived of a continental trophy since 1996 and eliminated last season in quarters by Ajax, the world football star wants to enter the history of his club. In addition to his Portuguese goalscorer, Turin coach Maurizio Sarri can also count on the rediscovered efficiency of his Argentinian prodigy Paulo Dybala, back in the foreground after a lackluster season.
Two offensive assets in great shape, unlike a Juve Barely outside since the end of January in Serie A. Before raising the bar against Spal, the Turinese remained indeed on two defeats far from their bases, in Naples (1-2, January 26) and then with a promoted, Hellas Verona (1-2, February 8). Extremely rare insecurity for the eight-time defending champion club, which changed coach during the offseason, which the Lyonnais hope to take advantage of.
Because the Lyonnais players have shown many limits this season at home, where they have won only four times in twelve L1 games. Overwhelmed by a bad start to the season and a wave of injuries that affected several of his offensive assets (Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adelaïde), the club of Jean-Michel Aulas wants at all costs to avoid being deprived of any European competition for the first time since 1997.
The OL puts a lot on Houssem Aouar Under pressure by the sequence of underperformance and with a workforce less brilliant than that of the golden era of the 2000s, OL still remains engaged on four tables. In addition to the League and C1, Lyon will face Paris SG twice in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France (March 4) and the final of the Coupe de la Ligue (April 4). Before thinking about its national deadlines, OL will try to create a surprise in this European duel which appears unbalanced, as in last season, when Lyon had been eliminated in 8th by Barca (0-0, 5-1). ”We will be at home, the stadium will be full and we will have the support of our public, Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes told AFP.
Why not create the feat and play match after match until the end of the season? ”To maintain their chances until the return match, the Lyonnais will rely primarily on Houssem Aouar, their nugget trained at the club. More decisive than ever, the young midfielder, author of 9 goals in all competitions, is the metronome of his team and the trusted man of Rudi Garcia. Finally, the established scorer of Gones Moussa Dembele will also play a leading role in to play, while he still hasn’t found his way to the C1 net this season.