Champions League Preview: Girondins De Bordeaux – Olympique Lyonnais

Posted Wednesday, April 07, 2010 by Goal.com

It's been a traumatic time of late for les Girondins, and facing a 3-1 aggregate deficit against les Gones, progression to the semi-finals looks improbable...

Kick Off: Wednesday, April 7, 2010. 20:45 CET
Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux

Bottomed Out?

Hailed at the beginning of the season for their excellent performances, Girondins de Bordeaux have found the going steadily harder during 2010. Initially Laurent Blanc’s men were able to grind out results, but going into their Champions League quarter-final against Olympique Lyonnais, they have lost three successive matches for the first time in the coach’s reign.

Bordeaux’s success has been foraged from a defensively sound base, but over the past few weeks that has gradually deteriorated. Silly goals were partly to blame for their 3-1 defeat in Lyon last week, and similarly soft efforts helped Nancy shock the French champions by defeating them 2-1 at the weekend.

Goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso spoke frankly after the weekend loss. “Being honest, for a while we have not deserved good results,” he told the press. “If we were still high in the league, it’s because our opponents have not made a perfect record. Each of us is missing something. We will have to look in the mirror, say what it is and we will get together from there. I don’t worry.”

Marouane Chamakh’s away goal has given les Girondins some hope, and there is definitely belief that they can progress to the semi-finals. “I think we can say that we have hit rock bottom, but we still hope to turn things around. I’m now eagerly awaiting Wednesday’s game,” Laurent Blanc said to the press after chastising his side, complaining that too few of his players had reached their potential at the weekend.

If a great turnaround is to be completed, not one of Bordeaux’s squad can be anything short of excellent.

Looking For The Semi

It’s been a funny season for Ligue 1 leaders Olympique Lyonnais. They started at a blistering pace that indicated they had every intention of reclaiming their Ligue 1 crown, but they suffered an abject run over the course of the late autumn and early winter period that threatened to not only see the end of general manager Claude Puel, but also jeopardised their place in Europe next term.

Long before their famous 2-1 aggregate success over Real Madrid in March, OL had started to be roused. Although January saw the Stade Gerland side crash out of both domestic cups, they were perfect in the league and have since lost only one match in Le Championnat – that against Olympique de Marseille away from home.

Over the weekend they received a boost by moving to the summit of the French standings, leapfrogging, amongst others, Bordeaux. Psychologically this will have been a huge boost to the club, despite Puel’s protests that it is “not important”, especially as they defeated an in-form foe who enjoy a good recent record against les Gones, with a fringe team to boot.

Lyon still look unlikely to regain their French crown – Bordeaux and Marseille, who are both in close attendance, enjoy two games in hand over OL, while the latter are really on a charge at present – but the season could still be deemed a success by president Jean-Michel Aulas if his charges were to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time.

A brace from Lisandro Lopez and a further strike from Michel Bastos in the first leg have put them within touching distance, though Wednesday’s task is something more than a mere formality.


FORM GUIDE

Bordeaux

LOST 2-1 (h) Nancy (Ligue 1, April 3)

LOST 3-1 (a) Olympique Lyonnais (Champions League, March 30)

LOST 3-1 (n) Olympique de Marseille (Coupe de la Ligue, March 27)

WON 3-1 (h) Lille (Ligue 1, March 21)

WON 2-1 (h) Olympiacos (Champions League, March 17)

Lyon

WON 2-1 (a) Stade Rennais (Ligue 1, April 3)

WON 3-1 (h) Girondins de Bordeaux (Champions League, March 30)

WON 2-0 (h) Grenoble (Ligue 1, March 27)

LOST 3-1 (a) Olympique de Marseille (Ligue 1, March 21)

DREW 1-1 (h) Saint-Etienne (Ligue 1, March 13)

TEAM NEWS

Bordeaux

Home boss Laurent Blanc’s problems have been increased by injury concerns over the past week. Right-back Matthieu Chalme should be fit enough to start, though he was poor at the weekend, but Fernando is set to miss the remainder of the campaign because of a broken cheekbone.

Les Girondins hope to have Marc Planus back in the heart of their defence for this fixture, though it is not certain.

Probable Starting XI: Carrasso; Chalme, Ciani, Planus, Tremoulinas; Diarra, Plasil; Gouffran, Gourcuff, Wendel; Chamakh

Lyon

Arguably OL have greater injury concerns than their hosts. Jean Makoun continues to miss out, while Cleber Anderson is still sidelined. Francois Clerc, who tends to play right-back, is ready to feature after a long period out, but he will not be selected.

Aly Cissokho wasn’t retained in the squad at the weekend because of a slight concern, but he should be available come Wednesday. Mathieu Bodmer was withdrawn early on Saturday and won’t play.

Lisandro Lopez and Sidney Govou are both missing due to suspension.

Probable Starting XI: Lloris; Reveillere, Cris, Boumsong, Cissokho; Toulalan, Kallstrom; Bastos, Pjanic, Delgado; Lisandro

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bordeaux

Yoann Gourcuff produced miracles for Bordeaux last season, and he will have to be at the forefront if the Aquitaine side are to turn this tie around. A terrific playmaker on his day, the youngster has not been quite at his best of late, but there have been signs that the former Milan man is coming back towards his peak. He was one of the few to impress at the weekend.

Lyon

Directly against Gourcuff will be tenacious holding midfielder Jeremy Toulalan. The France international didn’t start in particularly impressive form, but he was responsible for the turnaround in the game that saw OL come from behind to claim all three points. Provides a valuable platform for the side to build around. If the former Nantes man plays well, les Gones simply won’t lose this game.

PREDICTION

On recent form, Lyon should manage to close this fixture out comfortably. Bordeaux have been far from their best in recent weeks, most notably last weekend, when they offered little against Nancy. Laurent Blanc’s men will be out to prove the critics wrong and will certainly give this match a good fist. Generally they have a decent home record, and they will at least want to avoid defeat.

Girondins de Bordeaux 1-1 Olympique Lyonnais

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