After last Saturday’s Coupe de France clash against amateur 5th division side Bourges Foot, where Lyon struggled for a hard fought victory (no, seriously), Bruno Genesio and his merry men are setting their sights on that other French Cup.
Since winning the league is out of the question, and progressing in the Champions League is just as unlikely, Genesio is determined to win one of the cups. While the Coupe de France is more prestigious, he’ll take anything he can get, even if it’s the slightly more lame Coupe de la Ligue.
The reason Lyon are so desperate? The club hasn’t won any hardware since 2012.
Oh wait, they did win the Eusebio Cup. My bad.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2019
Parc OL, Lyon
21:00 CET (3 PM EST)
Unlike the Coupe de France, which is open to all football clubs no matter their professional status, the Coupe de la Ligue is for professional clubs only, which means those in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, as well as a handful in National (3rd Division). Unfortunately, this means there aren’t as many Cinderella stories, and after the initial round, it ends up feeling like a regular league match. Case in point – only one L2 team is left in the quarterfinals (Le Havre).
The recent rule changes allow for clubs that directly qualify for the Champions League to enter the competition in the Round of 32. This year was a bit of a fluke due to UEFA seeding issues, where all 3 French Champions League clubs directly qualified, which is why Monaco, PSG, and Lyon entered the CdL in only the last round (ordinarily, Lyon would have entered in the Round of 64).
Lyon’s opponent in the quarterfinal round is Strasbourg, who are doing GREAT at the moment. They’re currently in 7th place, with 6 wins, 8 draws, and 5 losses, with 30 goals scored and 23 conceded. More importantly, they’ve been cup slayers. Not only did they knock out Marseille in this competition back in December, but in the round prior, they knocked out Lille. While they did lose their league match against Lyon back in August, Strasbourg will go into tomorrow’s match feeling very confident of getting a good result.
Le groupe du Racing: Sels, Kamara, Martinez, Kone, Mitrovic, Caci, Lala, Aaneba, Zemzemi, Martin, Corgnet, Lienard, Goncalves, Sissoko, Thomasson, Fofana, Zohi, Ajorque, Da Costa
Strasbourg has scored as many league goals as Lyon this season, but without the big name firepower. But if there is one player whose name even outsiders to French Football will recognize, it’s that of Kenny Lala, whose form this season has been outstanding. Lyon have been rumored as a potential suitor (they have a hard on for right backs), but even they have a slim chance of signing one of Ligue 1’s brightest prospects.
As for Lyon’s form…it’s a mess as always. They started off 2019 with a scrappy win against Bourges, but they played so poorly that it’s hard to take that win with any degree of seriousness. Their current league form has them sitting in 3rd place, with 9 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses, with 30 goals scored but with 21 conceded (which puts OL in the 7th spot defensively).
However, Lyon are still in all 4 competitions and look a solid bet to end the season in the top 3. So despite the cringe worthy performances and less than impressive numbers, they’re still getting the job done.
Rafael and Lucas Tousart are injured and will miss tomorrow’s game. Nabil Fekir and Maxwel Cornet make their returns, but Jeremy Morel is left out.
Le groupe lyonnais: Gorgelin, Racioppi – Tete, Dubois, Denayer, Marcelo, Mendy, Solet, Marcal – Aouar, Ndombele, Cheikh, Caqueret – Dembele, Traore, Terrier, Fekir, Cornet, Memphis
Memphis Depay, suspended for the match against Bourges, makes his triumphant return. Maxence Caqueret and Oumar Solet are once again called to the senior team.
*The squad list was corrected. Lopes was incorrectly listed, but it is Anthony Racioppi who will be the second goalkeeper for today’s game.
Since this is a CdL match, we’ll likely see Mathieu Gorgelin between the posts. Otherwise, expect a strong lineup. Strasbourg is a solid Ligue 1 team and will be ready for anything Genesio throws at them.
Unfortunately, because Lyon are still in 4 competitions, they have a game every 3 days between now and the end of January, so squad rotation is a must. Given that the Coupe de la Ligue is a major ambition for OL, it’s more likely that Genesio will play his key players tomorrow and then rotate for next Friday’s league game against Reims.
Denayer – Marcelo – Marcal
Tete – Ndombele – Aouar – Mendy
Traore – Memphis
Nabil Fekir will sit right behind the two attackers. Despite Martin Terrier’s great showing last weekend, I expect Genesio to go with his usual front two. Memphis is no surprise, but with Moussa Dembele failing to impress against Bourges, we’re likely to see Betrand Traore start instead.
- beIN Sports Connect (United States)
- DAZN, beIN Sports Connect (Canada)
- ESPN Norte (Mexico)
- Canal + (France)
- BT Sport 1 (Great Britain)
- Other countries
1-1, with OL losing on penalties. Because it’s Gorgelin. And Traore. And Genesio.