What: Champions League (Round of 16)
Who: Lyon vs Real Madrid
When: Tuesday 22nd February, 2011, at 19:45 UK time
Where: Stade Gerland, Lyon, France

Hoping for a Repeat of Last Year

If there is a team that has developed a knack for knocking Real Madrid out of their beloved Champions League, it is Lyon. The double encounter between Les Gones and Los Merengues at this same stage last year marked the beginning of the end of Manuel Pellegrini’s reign at the world’s biggest club. This time, the French will be hoping to do the same to Jose Mourinho’s Madrid.

Such has been the effect of Lyon on Real Madrid that the Ligue 1 side have turned into the Spaniards’ bogey side. Many believe that Real will finally overcome their French hurdle this time around, however, team midfielder Kim Kallstrom is confident that his team can continue the streak this time around: “We have already beaten them before and we’ll do our utmost to do it again. Despite our success last year, Madrid will start the tie as favourites. They defend better than they did in the past. You immediately see the influence of Mourinho. It will be a lot more difficult than in 2010."

Confidence Ahead

Completing nine years of league invincibility at home during the win over Levante on Saturday, Jose Mourinho leads his side into what is probably their most important match of the season. While the league trophy has been absent for two years from Madrid, it is the Champions League that the team desires most. And with the Portuguese in charge, they have a good chance of making a splash in the knockout stage.

The former Chelsea boss opted to rest some of his pivotal players in the league match against Levante, anticipating the important occasion against Lyon. Speaking after the game, Mourinho revealed that he has been studying the Ligue 1 giants for some time as he prepares for the event: "It has been years since Madrid made it through to the last 16 and it is because they have never beaten Lyon. I would like to know if Lisandro [Lopez], Jimmy Briand or Cesar Delgado will be playing. We have to study all the possibilities and be prepared for anything and everything."


Recent form

Lyon 0-0 Bordeaux (06/02; Ligue 1)
Saint-Etienne 1-4 Lyon
(12/02; Ligue 1)
Lyon 4-0 Nancy (18/02; Ligue 1)

Real Madrid:
Real Madrid 4-1 Real Sociedad
(06/02; La Liga)
Espanyol 0-1 Real Madrid
(13/02; La Liga)
Real Madrid 2-0 Levante (19/02; La Liga)

Key absences

Lyon: Ederson; Lisandro Lopez (doubt); Hugo Lloris (doubt)

Real Madrid: Gonzalo Higuain

Players to watch

Lyon – Yoann Gourcuff: The former AC Milan playmaker is enjoying a fine spell at Lyon, establishing himself as a key player for both club and country. In a match of this magnitude, the French prodigy will have to rise to the occasion and hurt Real Madrid when given the chance.

Real Madrid – Iker Casillas: The Real Madrid talisman will slot back in the starting line-up after serving a one-match suspension against Levante. Casillas was left stranded as Lyon progressed past his team last year, and he will be hoping to repay the favour this time around.

Match Prediction

It will be interesting to see how Jose Mourinho’s men react against Lyon in this encounter. Should they start strong, they will have the chance to close the outcome straight from the first fixture. However, things could prove to be very tricky for them should Lyon take command and dictate play from the start.

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