Bordeaux v Lyon, Champions League quarter-final second leg, April 7, 2010
If form and momentum is anything to go by, Laurent Blancâ€™s Bordeaux side will struggle to overcome a 3-1 first leg deficit to Lyon after a chastening week for the French champions.
Successive 3-1 defeats to Marseille in the Coupe de la Ligue final and then to Claude Puelâ€™s team in the Champions League was followed up by a 2-1 home defeat to Nancy on Saturday. To deepen the gloom at Bordeaux, Saturday was another mini-battle won by Lyon as they returned to the top of Ligue 1 and Bordeaux, who led the table for so long, are now third, albeit with two games in hand.
Bordeaux captain Alou Diarra summed up the mood in the camp: â€œIt’s the first time [this season] that we suffer three straight lossesâ€¦ The team is morally affected. Right now, we’re not playing like defending champions.” And a sombre Laurent Blanc added: â€œIt will be tough to reach our goals if we don’t manage to lift our heads up and change our attitude.â€
The defeat to Nancy though was not just damaging for Bordeauxâ€™s quest to retain the French title. Brazilian midfielder Fernando fractured his cheekbone and is now expected to miss the rest of the season. Whilst goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso picked up an injury making a save against Nancy with ten minutes to go, Blanc had used all three subs so the custodian had to stay on the pitch but is now a doubt for the second leg. (Draw/Lyon is 7.42.)
If there is any hope for Les Girondins it lies with Marouane Chamakh and Yoann Gourcuff. The Moroccan striker, who seems to be inching ever closer to a move to Arsenal, sat out 76 minutes of the defeat to Nancy and showed in the first leg that he can score past Hugo Lloris. Gourcuff came off with 15 minutes to go and his creativity and invention will be massive if Bordeaux are to claim at least the two goals they need to qualify for the semi-finals. (1.21 on either a Bordeaux win or a draw.)
Meanwhile, Lyon come into this second leg on an upsurge in form that could see them reclaim their place as the top side in France. Seemingly still on a high from their heroics in the Bernabeu in the last round, OL have had almost the perfect build up for their trip to Stade Chaban Delmas.
Saturday saw Lyon come from behind at Rennes to secure another important victory. Michel Bastos (pictured) and Lisandro Lopez were on target in the comeback win with a number of players rested. Defender Cris and midfielder Jeremy Toulalan started on the bench and Brazilian winger Bastos was given a ten minute breather at the end.
Claude Puel praised his side after the match in typical French style: â€œIt was a match between two Champions League games, so I say ‘bravo’ to the players who showed their desire and quality.” And Arsene Wengerâ€™s protÃ©gÃ© added on the second leg: “Bordeaux will be hurting, Wednesday’s match is another competition and it will be a difficult game.”
Such are the differing fortunes of both teams in recent days that it is easy to forget that but for a harsh penalty decision late on at the Stade Garland, Bordeaux would be in the driving seat of this tie. As it is though, it seems likely that Lyon will score in the second leg and Laurent Blancâ€™s side appear to have run out of puff and luck at the worst juncture of the season.
101gg predicts: Bordeaux 2 â€“ Lyon 2 (15.29)