first team / OL - Hapoël Tel-Aviv D -1

For a finish on a high note

Published on the 06 December 2010 à 19:06 by R.B

Already qualified for the last 16, OL will try to snatch the top spot in Group B from Schalke 04 ... This requires a mandatory success against Hapoël Tel Aviv and a slip up from the Germans in Lisbon...

While the first place in the group is not always synonymous with qualification for the quarter finals, but it would be best to put as much chance on your side by avoiding the big guns like Barcelona, Chelsea, Real ... and by playing the return leg at home, something which makes a qualification a little easier. Those who have good memories would say that OL fell against AS Roma having finished first in their group in the 2006-2007 season. They will continue by saying that OL went into semi-finals by playing the last 16 match against Real Madrid with the return match in Spain. But frankly what chance of passing if fate reserved for example an encounter against Barcelona with a return match at the Camp Nou?

OL need to beat Hapoel while hoping for a success for Benfica or a draw at the Estadio de la Luz. Normally Benfica must win in order to qualify for the Europa League, but the Lisbon giants know that a defeat or a draw may suffice. They certainly cannot imagine that the Israeli minnows will pull off an exploit in Lyon. Schalke 04 have to win to have his fate in his hands and keep the top spot for sure, will they face a highly motivated opponent? We'll see ...

Lyon have gotten themselves back in the race for the Ligue 1 title and can now devote themselves fully to this final group stage match. On paper, they are the favorites although Vermouth and his partners have progressed since late September. They are a lively and technical set of players who will have nothing to lose at the Stade Gerland.

For this last encounter of the group phase, Claude Puel will recuperate Diakhaté and Cissokho, who were suspended in Montpellier. What about Toulalan and Gourcuff? It seems that Jérémy is more likely to return to the squad than the former Bordeaux player. We will see if the Olympian coach rotates his squad, starting with Briand for example, something which was not the case against PSG and Montpellier.

A match to be won, on many sides. A match with high stakes which should, hopefully, not affect the quality of the show.

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