Turf Wars: Reims vs Lyon Match Preview

Tomorrow, Lyon travel to Reims for the second match of their Ligue 1 season. Both teams won last weekend, with Lyon snagging a comfortable (if boring) win over Amiens while Reims walked away with a hard fought victory over Nice.

Lyon are still in summer vacation mode, so perhaps this trip will get them back on track. Reims have already shown their scrappy tenacity and will certainly fight tooth and nail for all three points.

However, the biggest takeaway last weekend was that if you aren’t careful, your pitch will make more headlines than you. That was certainly the case with Lyon, whose sandy lawn was all over the headlines and a source of considerable embarrassment for the club. Not to be outdone, Reims have announced that their own pitch is suffering from a bacterial infection, which is causing yellow spots on the grass.

It sounds like an STD we should avoid at all costs.

Friday, August 17th, 2018
Stade Auguste Delaune, Reims
2:45 PM EST (19:45 UST, 20:45 CET)

Background Info:

The last time Lyon traveled to Reims, they had their asses whipped. Emphatically. It was a 4-1 loss to a team that got relegated two weeks later. Overall, Lyon have a relatively poor record at Stade Auguste Delaune, with 15 losses, 4 draws, and 6 wins. Fortunately, most of these games were before 1980. Since 2010, the record has been a more decent 2 wins and 2 losses.

Reims have been bouncing back and forth between Ligues 1 and 2, having spent the last year in the second division before climbing back to the top flight. They’re one of those teams that’s charmingly inconsistent – they either fail or surpass expectations, and yet no one can never quite get mad at them.

Which doesn’t bode well for OL. As a rule, they tend to flounder against small teams that have plucky personalities. If you don’t believe me, just watch tomorrow’s game. It will be a struggle for us all.

In Reims news, they lost Jordan Siebatcheu to Rennes and Julian Jeanvier to an English Championship team (Division 2), but they signed Hyun-jun Suk from Troyes as a replacement. They also splashed €4m on Ghislain Konan, which is quite a sum for a team whose budget is what Aulas spends on lattes.  Overall, they spent nearly as much as they sold this transfer window. Which, if you ask me, is refreshing when compared to Lyon’s own transfer policies.

Le groupe rémois: Carrasso, Mendy – Abdelhamid, Disasi, Fontaine, Konan, Metanire – Cafaro, Chavalerin, Martin, Mbemba, Ndom, Romao, Chavarria, Doumbia, Oudin, Kyei, Suk

And just a little bit of drama here concerning Suk. Reims is the 11th club he’s played for (he’s 27 years old). He was on loan at Troyes from Porto last year, and this past June, Troyes decided to purchase him outright. Interestingly, they sold him to Reims just one month later.

Troyes claim that they sold him due to “unprofessional acts” by Suk that were at odds with Troyes’s management. However, rumors are that Troyes bought him just to immediately resell him anyway with the hopes of making a tidy profit – which they did, of €1m. Not bad for a player they had for a single month.

I will dig around to find out what these unprofessional acts were and then make sure to tweet about it in great detail.

Team News:

Genesio has been teasing us all week about whether Nabil Fekir would return to the team. Sadly, the “will he, won’t he” game ended today when the club announced Fekir wouldn’t be journeying with the team to Reims.

The conspiracy theorist in me is freaking out, so I’m choosing to believe he’s just not in good enough shape…even though the rest of the French National Team is back to business.

Anthony Lopes has one more match before his suspension is over, so we’ll have 90 more minutes of Mathieu Gorgelin, who has promised to do his best to end things on a high note. I just hope it’s a high note for Lyon and not Reims.

Kenny Tete: Tales of an Abandoned Left Back – coming soon to a bookstore near you.

Last week, Rafael was left behind, and this week, it’s Kenny Tete. We know that one of them will leave, but Genesio is going to keep us guessing. I also noticed with my eagle eyes that neither Amine Gouiri nor Maxence Caqueret are on the list.

I mean, it’s not like I care.

Le groupe lyonnais: Gorgelin, Racioppi – Dubois, Marcelo, Mendy, Morel, Rafael, Solet – Aouar, Diop, Ferri, Ndombele, Tousart – Cornet, Mariano, Memphis, Terrier, Traoré

Also, Marçal is still recovering from an “injury.” At this point, I don’t even know why Lyon bother with the excuse.

Expected lineup:

Against a team like Reims, this would ordinarily be a good occasion to practice squad rotation or try different lineups. But Genesio seems more interested in getting these guys into the “do or die” frame of mind. Which is hilarious because his idea of forceful coaching is to point and shout “Allez!”

4-4-2 (diamond)

Gorgelin

Rafael – Morel – Marcelo – Mendy

Ndombele – Tousart – Aouar

Memphis

Traore – Mariano

I expect him to play Rafael as LB with Leo Dubois on the bench. Not because Dubois did poorly against Amiens – I thought he did pretty well – but just because that’s what you gotta do when you have two equally qualified players for a single position.

As much as I wish Ruben Dias would magically appear in time for tomorrow’s match, we’ll be seeing Jeremy Morel instead. As much as I want to hit backspace, I can’t.

If Genesio will make a change, he might take a risk and drop Mariano for Martin Terrier. Terrier’s had great pre-season form while Mariano hasn’t. On the other hand, maybe Mariano just needs more…practice? If Memphis doesn’t start the match (unlikely), then the formation will probably change to a 4-3-3.

Broadcasting:

  • beIN Sports
  • Canal+ Sport
  • BT Sport 2

Expected Results Random Guess:

I feel like Lyon will concede at least once. Gorgelin’s gotta say bye, right? I’ll go with 3-1, followed by an immediate decontamination session from all that bacteria.

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