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Champions League: Lyon v Real Madrid Preview

Lyon coach Claude Puel said his side would face a “better balanced” team than the Real Madrid that they beat at this stage of last season’s UEFA Champions League yet, despite the absence of Lisandro, he believes they are in the mood to repeat that success. Madrid have lost in the round of 16 six years running but José Mourinho is not looking to the past.

Claude Puel, Lyon coach
I don’t know if Madrid are stronger than last season. They’re different, perhaps a bit better balanced thanks to some hard workers in the midfield. Either way they’re still a team made up of players of great quality like [Sami] Khedira, [Ángel] Di María, [Emmanuel] Adebayor and [Mesut] Özil. Madrid are not just José Mourinho, even though he was a great recruit for the club. We have to be wary of all of them.

We can regret the fact that Lisandro won’t play as he’s able to do great things in this kind of game. But, some players are coming into form, like ‘Chelito’ Delgado. He’s often effective in Europe and his ability to dribble and beat a man can really help us. Our aim is to qualify for the next round. Last year, few people believed in us. We managed to raise our game and maybe it surprised Madrid. I think the best of Lyon is still to come.

José Mourinho, Real Madrid coach
A lot of new players came to Madrid this year and have never played in a game between Lyon and Real. Lyon are a good team, who have experience of this kind of game. But we are Madrid. We don’t have to look at the past or statistics. If we think that both games will be easy, it’s going to be difficult for us. We have to do well in both games. We know our ability and won’t underestimate Lyon.

It’s been six years since Madrid reached the quarter-finals. When I was at Inter, the club hadn’t won the Champions League for more than 50 years. Is it possible to do it this year? We have to beat Lyon… Zinédine Zidane gave us a lot of advice in preparing for this game.

Team news
Lyon

Lisandro pulled his hamstring in training on Thursday and is out, but Ederson is back in training having not played since August because of a thigh injury. Yoann Gourcuff (knee), Clément Grenier (thigh) and César Delgado (thigh) are all fit after lengthy spells out. Dejan Lovren and Michel Bastos are within a booking of a one-match European suspension.

Real Madrid
Pepe sat out the weekend win against Levante UD with a sore calf, while Gonzalo Higuaín could miss the rest of the season after suffering a slipped disc in November. Kaká (knee), Fernando Gago (knee) and Jerzy Dudek (broken jaw) have all shaken off injuries. Cristiano Ronaldo and Raúl Albiol will miss the rematch if they are booked in Lyon.

Prediction
Real Madrid has gone out of the Champions League at this stage of the competition for the last three years, but I expect that streak to end here. It was not be easy as Lyon are a good side, but Madrid has the second best player on the planet and the best manager. That combination will be enough to see Madrid progress over the two legs.

Mourinho usually plays the away leg very tight, hoping to sneak that all important away goal and that is what I expect him to do again this year.

Score: Lyon 1 Real Madrid 1

What do you think the score will be?

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