LINE: Lyon +1100 | Draw +550 | Bayern Munich -455
KICK OFF: Wednesday, August 19th, 3PM EST
WHERE: Estadio do Sport, Lisbon, Portugal
WATCH: CBS All Access
If anybody had predicted that Olympique Lyon would beat Juventus & Man City to progressing into the Champions League semi-finals a few months back, they’d probably have been called fools. But the French side has gone from being the knockout stages ‘whipping boys’ to among the top-4 teams in UCL this in astounding fashion.
To their credit, Rudi Garcia’s men have played like warriors and fully capitalized on opportunities – something not many ‘stronger’ sides can boast. They’ve been this year’s Ajax, pulling off an underdog story for the ages. But every fairytale has an ending – happy or sad. With a ruthless Bayern Munich ready to end their run, it’ll take something truly extraordinary for Lyon to bring down the giant that awaits them.
Bayern Munich Predicted XI
Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies, Goretzka, Thiago, Muller, Gnabry, Perisic, Lewandowski
Bayern picked up no new injuries in the 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona & will (obviously) play the same team as the quarter-finals.
Lyon Predicted XI
Lopes, Marcal, Marcelo, Denayer, Dubois, Caqueret, Guimaraes, Aouar, Cornet, Depay, Ekambi
Just like Bayern, Lyon doesn’t have any injuries. And just like them, they’ll also go with the same team that defeated City (even if it means keeping match-winner Moussa Dembele benched).
Bayern Munich vs Lyon Preview
Lyon are probably feeling like they played the best game of their lives to defeat City in such compelling fashion the other day. They have no idea how better they’ll have to be to even compete on the same level as Bayern, let alone defeat them. If City was a wild cat, Bayern are more like a bloodthirsty tiger.
After the massacre they did to Barca, there’s no doubt anymore the amount of nightmares they can cause. Garcia needs to use the managerial experience he’s gained in his 20+ year career to come up with a plan sustainable enough to frustrate the Bavarians into losing their momentum.
While it might be a daunting task, each & every single Lyon player will have to play like their livelihood depends on it to do the unbelievable against the German giants. Most importantly, they cannot afford to make a single mistake or give an inch of space to the malicious Bayern attackers.
The tough-tackling duo of Fernando Marcal & Marcelo have a lot of experience shared between them. But they’ve faced a threat quite like prime Roberto Lewandowski. Be it playing dirty or following his every step, they can’t afford to take eyes of the best striker on the planet.
Apart from Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry & Ivan Perisic are all clinical enough to punish them if not taken care off. So Jason Denayer, Leo Dubois, Bruno Guimaraes & Maxwel Cornet need to pull up their socks, dig their feet in & just deflect away whatever is thrown their way. Anthony Lopes also must wear his superman cape to save all the shots that are about to get thumped into his goal.
But the point is Lyon will need to play as a whole unit to get through this storm. They can’t just park the bus & expect Bayern to self-implode. They’re currently good enough to even score past a 10-man defence. The Lyon players will need to work together, track every attacking player’s movement, narrow their scope of creating chances and most important outwork them.
If they can defend properly, then that narrow opportunity to actually win the game can creep up. Lyon are a terrific counter-attacking side and need to be ruthless in finishing off whatever chance they get with utmost precision. Manuel Neuer is no Ederson to gift them goals, so they’ll have to take shots that can beat him.
Memphis Depay has the chance to change his name from Man United flop to Champions League finalist. Apart from the City game, he’s scored in every single UCL game for Lyon this season. With his tricky movement & deadly finishing in the final third, the French side will pile their hopes of testing Bayern’s resilience.
Karl Toko Ekambi is excellent in bullying defenders & dragging them out of positions, so he’ll be key in opening up space for Memphis. But the creative force of Lyon is brilliant young midfielder Houssem Aouar, who outshined Kevin de Bruyne the other day. Not only is he defensively bullish enough to regain possession with crunching challenges, but he’s also extremely clever in ripping apart backlines.
Like City, Bayern also tend to play a high-line. So Aouar will try to capitalize on that with defence-splitting passes to send the likes of Depay, Ekambi or Cornet through on goal. Bayern also don’t have any dedicated defensive midfielder (neither Leon Goretzka nor Thiago Alcantara are one), so Lyon needs capitalize on that by creating everything through the middle of the park.
Lyon will have to play at a high level they’re not used to. Garcia needs to get his tactics spot on, the players must operate like warriors on the pitch and show fearlessness to defeat the beast that awaits them & continue their remarkable fairytale.
With that being said, I don’t think Lyon can be THAT GOOD to not make a single mistake & will succumb to the heat of Bayern’s attack. Expect a 3-1 win for the Bavarians, even though Lyon should give them a bigger fight than Barca.