OL - Benfica: separate from the pack (Tuesday, 21h)
If OL have had complicated days, the situation is a little more positive than before. After a defeat at the wire in Lisbon (2-1), Les Gones responded well by winning (2-0) against Metz on the 11th matchday of Ligue 1 Conforama, then doing the same against Toulouse this weekend (2- 3). It's been a breath of fresh air for a team that had not won any league match since August 16, and who had not even scored in the league since September 25 in Brest (2-2). These first successes of Rudi Garcia at the head of his new team will allow the players to regain confidence and go back toward the top of the table.
Before the match against OL, Benfica were last in group G with zero points. Zenit and OL occupied the first two places and Leipzig was third. Since the third matchday, everything has changed. While the club of Jean-Michel Aulas could have put the Portuguese side on ice with seven points, they have slipped to within just one point of their opponent, and Leipzig have the lead with their two wins. Everything is still possible in a group that keeps all its promise of a homogeneous and balanced pool. The reception of Benfica should allow OL to resume its forward march in the Champions' League and aim for a leading position in the future.
For the Lisbon side, there is nothing special to report. They are still performing well domestically, as their second place in the league, their standing only exceeded by Porto on goal difference. This unexpected victory against OL, only achieved thanks to a rare blunder by Anthony Lopes, revived a team that saw the knockout stage of the Champions League slipping away. The task looks daunting for Benfica who will play only once more at home, against Zenit on the last matchday. It will be necessary to accrue points before then; it starts with the trip to Décines that will be missed by Rafa Silva, scorer and provider in the first leg.
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