Paul Smith

What: Champions League semi-final second leg
Who: Lyon vs Bayern Munich
When: Tuesday 27th April 2010 at 20:45 CET
Where: Stade Gerland, Lyon, France

Home Sweet Home

Lyon’s visit to Munich for the the first leg will be one they will want to forget. Claude Puel was always going to adopt a conservative approach to the game in light of Bayern’s recent goalscoring exploits and for the first 40 minutes the strategy worked as Les Gones restricted the hosts to half-chances. Franck Ribery’s sending-off should have been the catalyst for Puel to go in search of away goals but no changes were forthcoming and this contributed to Toulalan’s dismissal as Bayern continued to dominate possession and Lyon were becoming more and more desperate to win the ball back.

Lyon’s home European form this season has been almost exemplary with only Liverpool departing the Stade Gerland having not been beaten. The French side’s impressive run includes victories over Real Madrid, Fiorentina and Bordeaux, showing their class. Important too is that the Ligue 1 outfit have had a free weekend after the French league agreed to the postponement of their scheduled fixture against Monaco so they should be well prepared for their encounter with Bayern.

Away Goals Specialists

Bayern were by far the superior team during the first leg and fully deserve their 1-0 advantage. Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with the resilience shown by his team when they went down to ten men and how man of the moment Arjen Robben stepped things up in the second half to drive his team forward. However, the Dutch tactician has enough experience to know the job is only half complete and a tough evening awaits his team in southern France.

In the two previous rounds the German side took first leg leads to Florence and Manchester and were then subject to sustained pressure from the hosts. Bayern had to dig deep on both occasions with Arjen Robben in scoring in both matches to send his team through on the away goals rule. If Lyon do get off to a flying start then the Bundesliga outfit have the experience to deal with the situation.

Recent form

Bayern Munich 1-0 Lyon (21/04; Champions League)
Bordeaux 2-2 Lyon (17/04; Ligue 1)
Lyon 1-1 Lille (11/04; Ligue 1)

Bayern Munich:
Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Bayern Munich (24/04; Bundesliga)
Bayern Munich 1-0 Lyon (21/04; Champions League)
Bayern Munich 7-0 Hannover 96 (17/04; Bundesliga)

Key absences:

Lyon: Jeremy Toulalan (suspended), Cris (doubt), Mathieu Bodmer

Bayern Munich: Franck Ribery (suspended), Danijel Pranjic (suspended), Martín Demichelis (doubt), Daniel van Buyten (doubt)

Players to watch

Lyon – Lisandro Lopez: Lopez has publicly criticised Lyon’s defensive approach in Bavaria and called on his team-mates to show a more positive attitude in the second leg. In return his Lyon colleagues will be hoping the club’s record signing can score the goals they need to advance. Diego Maradona has overlooked the striker thus far, but if he can fire his team to a Champions League final then Argentina’s Head Coach will find it difficult to ignore him any longer.

Bayern Munich – Marc van Bommel: The Dutch international returns from suspension to lead his side from central midfield for this second leg, and in a game where Bayern could be on the back foot for long periods van Bommel’s ability to break up play and control possession, as well as the tempo of the game will be invaluable.

Match Prediction

Lyon need to attack, but they will be wary of Bayern’s ability to score an away goal. This is a risk that Les Gones have to take. As a result Arjen Robben could find himself in space time and time again, especially if Lyon push their full backs up in support. Compared to the first leg at the Allianz Arena this should be a more even encounter, but expect the Bundesliga side to advance, possibly on away goals again with Arjen Robben again taking the lead role.

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