French clubs Lyon and Marseille will attempt to spring major upsets in the Champions League this week after being held to first-leg draws at home against Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively.
Marseille may feel they have the better chance having prevented Sir Alex Ferguson’s men from scoring in the goalless stalemate at the Stade Vélodrome. OM will have both striker André-Pierre Gignac and playmaker Mathieu Valbuena back in the team for the trip to Old Trafford on Tuesday, while rumors persist that Nani will have recovered from his horror tackle at Liverpool and will play. United’s are unbeaten at home this season either in domestic or in European football and will be expected to extend that record against OM.
Lyon’s superb record against Madrid suggests the nine-time winners will be pushed hard at the Santiago Bernabéu. Bafétimbi Gomis’s late equaliser at the Stade de Gerland earned the Ligue 1 team a 1-1 draw and extended OL’s unbeaten sequence against the Spanish giants to seven games. It was, however, the first time Lyon had failed to win in four home meetings against Real Madrid. .
Both sides will be missing key players for the Madrid-Lyon return fixture on Wednesday: Michel Bastos is suspended for the visitors while José Mourinho must do without the injured Kaká and Sami Khedira. Cristiano Ronaldo is also struggling to be fit. Lyon can at least count on forward Lisandro, who marked his return to form and fitness with a hat-trick against AC Arles-Avignon on 6 March.
Also on Tuesday, Bayern Munich will try to knock-out holder Inter Milan. A bad goalkeeping error by Inter keeper Julio Cesar allowed Mario Gomez to score a last-gasp goal at the San Siro. That goal gives Bayern the advantage heading into the second leg at home. Inter face a daunting task in Munich. Only one other team in Champions League history has progressed after losing the first leg at home. Both AS Roma and AC Milan failed in their efforts to do so last week, making Leonardo’s side Serie A’s only remaining survivors in European competition.
If Inter’s prospects are bleak,FC Copenhagen’s appear even more miserable after they lost 2-0 at home to Chelsea FC. Although the English double winners have recently closed the gap on United in the Premier League, Europe still represents their best opportunity of silverware and they will be keen to maintain a 100% home run in the tournament.
What do you think? Are the holders on their way out? Do the French clubs have a chance? Is Copenhagen merely playing for pride? Have your say on this week’s second legs.