Lyon v Bayern Munich, Champions League semi-final second leg, April 27, 2010
Prior to this tie Bayern Munich made it publicly known how unhappy they were that Lyon were allowed to postpone their Ligue 1 match with Monaco, which had been due to be played on Saturday, to the middle of May. Events on Saturday, whilst the OL players had their feet up, bore out this frustration.
Bayernâ€™s 1-1 draw away at Borussia Monchengladbach came at some cost to Louis van Gaalâ€™s side and has left the Bavarian giants clinging on to their hopes of a sensational triple this season. They are now level on points with Schalke at the top of the German Bundesliga and Felix Magath is yet again proving a thorn in the side of Germanyâ€™s biggest club.
Miroslav Klose grabbed the crucial equaliser at Monchengladbach and van Gaal admitted after the game that â€œwe werenâ€™t good today.â€ Besides the fact that Bayern were chasing the match until the very end, they also have to contend with the fact that their first choice central defensive pairing are major doubts for the second leg at Stade Garland.
Martin Demichelis and Daniel van Buyten were both withdrawn due to calf problems and their injuries has flagged up a significant lack of top class alternatives for the German giants. If the Argentine and Belgian defenders are unavailable Bayern will likely play Anatoliy Tymoschuk (a defensive midfielder) and Diego Contento (a left back) in central defence which is a sad state of affairs for such a crucial game.
To add to Bayernâ€™s selection woes, Franck Ribery is suspended after being sent off in the first leg and Croatian international Danijel Pranjic will also miss out after collecting three yellow cards in the competition. The only positive injury news is that Hamit Altintop should shake off a groin strain to start in France after missing the domestic league action on the weekend.
Without Ribery, more than ever Arjen Robben will have to step up and be counted. The Dutch winger claimed the only goal in the first leg and he has previous for scoring winning goals in second leg knockout ties this season having dumped Fiorentina and Manchester United out the competition with eye catching goals.
Lyon were pretty dour in the first game at the Allianz Arena and this has been publicly noted by their talisman Lisandro Lopez. The Argentinean striker was widely quoted on the weekend saying: â€œIt’s clear. The team must change their attitude and their mentality for the next match on Tuesday. We didn’t play enough when we had the ball. We were waiting in our own half too much. At 11 against 11 we had chances to attack more but we didn’t hurt our opponent enough and definitely not at 10 against 11. You saw a team that played too defensively. We have to correct the tactics and show a more positive spirit to go for victory.”
Claude Puelâ€™s side have though claimed some impressive victories at Stade Garland this season, seeing off the likes of Real Madrid and Bordeaux. They may also not be able to keep it as tight at the back as they would have liked, with defensive midfielder Jermey Toulalan suspended after receiving a red card in the first leg and centre back Cris a doubt through injury. Attack has to be the best way to go with a partisan home crowd urging them on to a final place at the Bernabeu.
Adding another angle to this match, Sidney Govou hopes to play a part for Lyon despite being named as one of the French national team players linked to the suspected prostitution ring that has brought shame on Les Bleus. Besides Govou, OL have some match winners in their team and the likes of Miralem Pjanic, Michel Bastos and Bafetimbi Gomis could all make the difference against Bayern.
On the evidence of the first leg though, Bayern look much the stronger of the two sides and this seems like an opportune time to describe a crucial statistic: In five Champions League games away from home this season, Bayern have scored 12 goals, as opposed to the six goals they’ve managed from six games at home.
101gg predicts: Lyon 1 â€“ Bayern Munich 1 (5.72)