Masculins / OL - Real

A little Champions League taster

Published on 24 July 2013 at 3:39 PM
This Wednesday, at 21:00 CET, Olympique Lyonnais host Spanish giant Real Madrid to the Stade Gerland for their final friendly match... The prestigious clash against the European powerhouse is the ideal way to warm-up for next week's Champions League third preliminary round qualifier…

After training camps in the French Alpes and New York and matches against Pogon and the Red Bulls, followed by the win over Jeonbuk, OL's preseason is almost over. The return to competition is just around the corner and Les Gones will have to hit the ground running. But before then, there is one more friendly game, and what a friendly at that, with a gala clash against the biggest club in the world Real Madrid.

Real Madrid… just the mention of the name sends shivers down the spine. Real are one of Europe's most successful clubs with 32 Spanish championships, 18 Spanish Cups and nine SuperCups. In Europe, the side from the Spanish capital is the most successful club of all time. Los Merengues have won the European Cup, or Champions League nine times and are in the hunt to make it ten! The club has always boasted the best players in the world.

Real Madrid also has a long history with Olympique Lyonnais. The Spanish ogre has often done it tough against a side that became known as its bête noire over the years. From September 2005 to November 2011, Gones and Merengues made a habit of playing against each other in the Champions League... ten times in six years! With three wins at the Stade Gerland and three draws in Spain, the early ties went the way of Les Lyonnais, culminating in that famous night on 10 March 2010 and a draw at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu that saw OL through to the quarter-finals. But since that moment, the boot has well and truly been on the other foot with Real hitting ten past OL, for just one against, in their last four meetings.

This Wednesday, the stakes aren't as high... the season hasn't even begun. The opponent, the 21:00 kick-off time, the sell-out crowd... as OL coach Rémi Garde says, "all the ingredients are there for an excellent dress rehearsal." This match is a chance for OL to measure themselves, especially defensively, against the Spanish armada... Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, who scored 66 goals in 148 matches for Les Lyonnais. The new coaching duo of Ancelotti and Zidane have an impressive artillery at their disposal with speed, power and precision...

The match is also a nice trip down memory lane to a time when OL regularly dined at Europe's top table and the hunger is there to return, starting next week with their crucial Champions League third preliminary round qualifier against Swiss side Grasshopper Zurich. This final preseason match may have the trappings of the Champions League, but make no mistake, the most important match comes a week later! What's sure is that OL have the ideal opponent to help them find their European rhythm and, why not, record a confidence-building victory along the way...

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