first team / OL - Real Betis

Seize the opportunity...

Published on the 28 November 2013 à 16:00 by R.B

If everything goes well, OL can book their place in the round of 32 of the Europa League and finish top of the group... at worst, they will play for their future against Vitoria Guimaraes in the final game… Real Betis can also qualify for the next round…


 This fifth match in Group I is a crucial one for both teams. Both can qualify for the knockout stages of the competition with a win. OL need a win and then a draw or a loss for Vitoria Guimaraes away to Rijeka. As for Betis: a win will see them through, irrespective of what happens in the other group match, or that can draw, or even lose, if the Portuguese side draw or lose in Croatia. The Spanish side has more room to manoeuvre than the French champions. Then there is the small matter of finishing top of the group to ensure a home match in the second leg of the Rd-of-32.

Will both sides be listening to what happens in Rijeka? We'll have to wait and see… The best solution will be do give it everything. If Vitoria Guimaraes win, it will set up a massive final game in Portugal against Maxime Gonalons and Co.!

OL suffered a blow by drawing with VAFC last time out. It was a real shame… and 72 hours after this European clash, they travel to Paris to take on the Ligue 1 leaders. Will Rémi Garde rotate his squad and rest certain players? Grenier, suspended against Valenciennes is available again. Will B. Koné, Danic, Briand, Pléa or Mvuemba start? Will Yoann Gourcuff play alongside Grenier? Will the team stick to its 4-4-2? So many questions... But don't expect as many changes from Rémi Garde as he made against Rijeka...

OL still have their fate in their own hands. Betis too. And the Spanish side will be grateful to get back into the Europa League after being taught a lesson, 4-0 against derby rivals Sevilla last weekend in La Liga. They are bottom of La Liga. They are not relegated yet, but alarm bells are ringing. Coach Pepe Mel's job may well be on the line next weekend when his side take on 19th placed Rayo Vallecano, while 18th placed Valladolid, travel to Real Madrid. Perhaps Week 15 of La Liga will also shine on this side, undefeated in the Europa League but with already nine defeats in the championship. Paradoxal…  How will the side from Seville approach this midweek trip to Lyon, knowing that a loss won't mean mean much in the wash up, even if Vitoria Guimaraes win in Croatia, because they host HNK Rijeka in the final group game. They will still be masters of their own destiny. Does that mean they will rest players with an eye on their upcoming Liga challenges?

All these ingredients mean Thursday's match at the Stade de Gerland will be a competitive and intense affair that could be a source of inspiration for Les Lyonnais... et Les Sévillans.  It's up to Rémy Vercoutre and his teammates to seize the opportunity…


Also...

- All the info on OL - REAL BETIS
- OL fixtures
- All the European kit and merchandise at the online store

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