OL set to kick off European adventure in Manchester
OL visit City in less than ideal circumstances. After a home loss to Nice (0-1) just before the recent international break, Lyon barely managed to eke out a last-minute 2-2 draw at Caen last weekend. A somewhat disappointing result considering their opponent finished the match with nine men on the pitch. Bruno Genesio's men know they'll have to bring their A-game against the Premier League champions, who are coming off a comfortable 3-0 win over Fulham.
Two years after their last Champions League appearance, OL are back in football's premiere club competition. It's a feat that was well deserved, considering the team's prodigious offensive output during the 2017-18 Ligue 1 Conforama campaign. On paper at least, City's status as Group F favorites is unquestioned, while Lyon will be in a dogfight for second place with Hoffenheim of Germany and and the Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk. A good result on Wednesday would be a dream start for Genesio and company, who clearly have the knockout stages in mind. It would also give them a huge confidence boost ahead of Sunday's highly anticipated league showdown with Olympique Marseille at Groupama Stadium.
Manchester City have clear-cut European ambitions and are one of the favorites to go all the way this season. Since making their Champions League debut in the 2010-2011 campaign (following a single European Cup appearance in 1968-1969), the Citizens have reached the last two quarterfinals while also qualifying for the semifinals three years ago. The seeds of their transformation into a continental powerhouse were planted in 2008, when the club was bought by Cheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. Things went up a notch higher in 2016 with the arrival of head coach Pep Guardiola. In his two years at the helm of the club, Pep has implemented a devastating offensive style that has already led to silverware for the Citizens (Premier League, League Cup and Community Shield) while setting Premier League records for points (100), overall wins (32), away wins (16 wins) consecutive wins (18 ) and goals scored (106, +79 difference) in a season. Now the mission is Europe, and OL are their first obstacle.
Apart from the injured Amine Gouiri and Fernando Marçal, who's still in the recovery phase, Bruno Genesio was able to count on his entire squad for the trip to Manchester. Twenty one players - including Kenny Tete, who played with the reserves over the weekend - were called up for Wednesday's contest. For Man City, head coach Pep Guardiola - who is suspended for the meeting and will be replaced by assistant Mikel Arteta - will have to do without playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, out at least a month with a knee injury, as well as backup goalkeeper Claudio Bravo (Achilles heel). There are also concerns regarding Sergio Aguero, the club's all-time goal scorer (204 goals in all competitions) who suffered a knock to the ankle on Saturday against Fulham. Benjamin Mendy is also a question mark, due to a knee problem.