The 2019-20 Champions League campaign is coming to an end as it moves to the semi-final stage this week and there should be a cracker in Lisbon on today’s evening when French underdogs Lyon take on German champions Bayern Munich. The two teams last met at this stage in 2010 where Bayern Munich beat Lyon with 4-0 aggregate
This is the second semi-final after Paris Saint Germain put up an inspiring performance to end the title hopes of the Germany outfit RB Leipzig with a 3-0 victory yesterday’s night.
Olympique Lyon caused a huge shock by knocking out tournament favorites Manchester City in the last round, while Bayern Munich produced a devastating performance in their 8-2 thumping of Barcelona making them favorites to win the trophy in the Lisbon Final. It will take another huge effort from the Ligue 1 team to reach their first-ever Champions League final but there is a feeling today’s contest may be one hurdle too many for Rudi Garcia’s men who also produced an impressing result to eliminate Italian champions Juventus FC in their last 16 meetings before advancing to the quarterfinals stage.
Bayern were the favorites going into their quarter-final clash with Messi’s Barcelona FC but nobody could have predicted what was to unfold as the rampant Bavarians smashed home eight goals.
Hansi Flick’s men boast a 100 percent record in their nine European games this season while they are also on a 29-game unbeaten run across all competitions, last tasting defeat on 7 December 2019 when they went down 2-1 to Borussia Monchengladbach. With the Bundesliga title and German Cup already secured in their trophy cabinet after a spectacular league campaign, they look well placed to complete the treble (a feat they achieved in 2013) and become European champions for the sixth time.
However, Bayern Munich will need to be wary of a dangerous Lyon side who have already gone against all odds and defeated top-level opposition in the previous stages of their campaign.
Hansi Flick in yesterday’s press conference stated that “We know the quality of Lyon, especially at the back. It’s a very compact team that can spring to the front very quickly thanks to its attacking qualities. We analyzed this team to be able to counter it as best as possible. We want to beat OL, of course, but it won’t be easy. Rudi Garcia is a very good tactician. We have already identified some solutions to meet this tactical challenge.”
Lyon executed a perfect game plan against City but Rudi Garcia’s side exerted a lot of energy to match their English opponents during their 3-1 victory and there are doubts about whether they will be able to cope with Bayern physically. In his press conference yesterday,
Garcia had this to say about his German opponent “They’re a very great team, but if we had looked at the stats before City we wouldn’t have had much better luck. With humility, we have managed to progress this far. If we have the opportunity to take our chances, we will have to do it, as we have done in the last two matches. This team doesn’t have a lot of weak points. It’s up to us to play our game, we are capable of a lot of things. We have to have confidence in ourselves and hope that each player has confidence in his teammates. The teams that play us are perhaps starting to think that we are not such a small team. Sometimes a small pebble can prevent you from climbing a mountain. It’s good to be in the semi-finals, it’s already a huge achievement having eliminated such teams. However, we haven’t won anything yet. These two feats should give us extra confidence and make us realize that we can do great things. ”
One thing guaranteed is that there should be plenty of goals in this contest, with Bayern having plundered 39 from their nine Champions League games this term while Lyon netting 14 times.
Across all competitions, this season, Flick’s men have scored an incredible 155 times (100 in the league and 16 in the German Cup) and there is no reason they can’t add to this tally today.
Lyon team news
After the impressive performance against Manchester City, it’s hard to see Garcia changing his team, although Moussa Dembele is pushing for a start. Karl Toko Ekambi and Memphis Depay will likely remain as the front two, with Maxwel Cornet and Leo Dubois playing at wing-back. Houssem Aouar was arguably the most impressive performer against City and will be keen to maintain that form in midfield.
Bayern Munich team news
It’s hard to see why manager Flick would want to disrupt a team that easily dispatched Barcelona, but the impressive performance of substitute Philippe Coutinho has at least given him some food for thought. The talismanic Lewandowski will lead the line again in the hunt for more goals and will be backed up by Thomas Muller with Serge Gnabry and Ivan Perisic on the wings. Joshua Kimmich will remain at right-back with Benjamin Pavard injured, while Alphonso Davies will look to get up the pitch from left-back and cause problems as he did against Barcelona.
Bayern will not be able to count on Corentin Tolliso a former Lyon player that also graduated from their academy, has been recovering from a long term injury but the Bayern Munich coach is hopeful that he will be available for the Final in a few days.
Author: Alvin Musiime
Alvin is a sports writer and a big fan of anything that involves the sports scene. He finds joy in keeping everyone updated about the daily ins and outs of sports.