first team / During the break


Published on the 24 December 2007 à 08:01 by R.B

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to take a look back and take stock, month by month, of OL’s performance. Joy, disappointment, ambitions… there hasn’t been a spare minute… and now it’s already time to look ahead to the second half of the season…

Doing as well as they did last year seemed a tall order. The Lyonnais has taken 90 points from a possible 114! Just 4 losses… they reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League, just seconds from the semis. They were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France… obviously, they won their 5th straight French title as well as the Trophée des Champions. Simply put, it was a stunning year.

After so much joy, OL experienced a serious slump. Did the 15-point lead at the break disturb this victory-hungry squad? Did the hours the lads all spent together create tensions? And the departures and transfers… did they affect the team spirit? The second half of their season was less forceful (31 points as opposed to 50), they were disappointing in the knockout phase of the Champions League, they lost the final of the Coupe de la Ligue and then suffered a shocking loss to Marseille in the dying moments of their Coupe de France clash. And then there were the injuries… but nothing could obscure the glory as they once again claimed the title of Champions of France. Their 6th in a row, the longest winning streak ever in France. Hats off!

It was the end of the cycle for some, and the beginning of a new and glorious one for President Jean-Michel Aulas; OL underwent many changes during the summer. But how would the 6-time French champions’ return to action unfold? With victory the Peace Cup, for the first time in its history, then with the lifting of their 5th Trophée des Champions. But they also had some strokes of terribly bad luck: Coupet and Cris played for just a few minutes before seriously injuring themselves [IMG42781#R]ruling themselves out for at least the first half of the season. OL dragged a bit in the league and lost its first two Champions League matches. The President stopped the rot however after the defeat to Rangers. OL regained the lead in L1, qualified in the Coupe de la Ligue and above all, pulled off a stunning qualification for the knockout phase of the Champions League, their 5th time in a row.

So OL will be involved in all possible competitions when the players return to training on January 1. They have a title to defend, domestic cups to contest as well as the glorious European scene. January will also feature the transfer market and all that comes with it, including departure(s) and arrival(s). There will also be the return to competition of Coupet and Cris… Can you wait for all the glorious matches to come?

[IMG42782#L]Finally, there was the project for OL’s new stadium or more precisely, OL’s new home. It’s out of the box now, presented to the media, residents and the public. A stadium and a headquarters more befitting the ambitions of a big European club. But we’ll have to wait for the dream to be realized, and we’ll be watching every step of the way.

It’s always exciting for OL fans as one year merges into the next, and must be as exciting if not more so for the players. One never gets used to winning titles – they always have to be defended – and there are always more to win. 2007, with all it brought, was a far from ordinary year. Let’s hope 2008 will unfold along similar lines, only with more success!

So in the meantime, we offer you this retrospective. One mustn’t forget the past, so check out each day our look back at the year that was before we all turn our attention to the future.