The Stade Gerland in Lyon will be the stage for tomorrow’s titanic clash between Olympique Lyon and Schalke 04. Both teams finished second in their respective leagues last season earning them direct passage to the Group Stages of the Champions League.
Lyon will be looking to go one better by reaching the final in Wembley. The semi finalists from last season have since acquired Bordeaux’s hot talent Yohann Gourcuff and together with Lisandro and Michel Bastos, the French side do have one of the best striking forces in the tournament.
However, Felix Magath’s Schalke 04 cannot be ruled out. The Bundesliga club snapped up Real Madrid’s golden boy Raul who they are hoping can continue with his impressive European goal scoring record. Schalke failed to appear in any European competition last season but that does not automatically make them the underdogs in Group B.
With Benfica and Hapoel Tel Aviv making up the rest of the group, the real competition will be for second spot with Benfica and Schalke each eying a spot in the Knockout stages. The Portuguese with Saviola, Cardozo and Aimar in their squad pose a great threat for all other teams.
Claude Puel will most likely use a 4-3-2-1 formation with Lisandro as the lone striker up front. Magath is likely to counter that with a 4-2-1-3 formation.
Probable line ups
Lyon: Lloris; Reveillere, Cris, Toulalan, Cissokho; Makoun, Gonalons; Briand, Gourcuff, Michel Bastos; Lisandro
Schalke: Neuer; Uchida, Hoewedes, Metzelder, Hao; Kluge, Jones; Rakitic; Farfan, Raul, Edu.
Prediction: Lyon are the favourites to win this group and they have the advantage of playing at home. Schalke also have some very talented players like Raul and Farfan who can create scoring opportunities from nothing. In light of this, i predict a 2-1 win for Lyon.
Photo credit: from Alvaro Isidoro