OL – ASSE : Take out the claws in the derby (21h, Canal +)
Without the ASSE supporters, banned from the stadium for the match, Olympique Lyonnais are preparing to play a decisive derby looking at the rest of the season. Lyon are in good form after their victory against Metz (0-2), last weekend, but especially thanks to their big win against Juventus (1-0), Wednesday, in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Thus, the players of Rudi Garcia arrive with full confidence, a certain determination and a desire to go up the table in Ligue 1 Conforama. The team has shown good form lately, with good attacking interplay and, above all, a remarkable solidity and resilience. All the signals are go then before starting the battle this Sunday.
With twelve matchdays left before the end of the championship, OL have no room for error. Thanks to its victory in Lorraine, the Rhone club has switched to the top half of the ranking and will have to confirm this start to their series by beating their historic rival, AS Saint-Etienne. Each point taken is valuable in what appears to be a final sprint for Europe, especially since the podium is only seven points away and is therefore undoubtedly in play. In addition, from a point of view of the team's morale, this home match against the Nigerians is, for a large number of supporters, the most important match of the year for all that it represents, such as the two clubs' historic rivalry and regional supremacy . There will be, moreover, an air of revenge on this count since OL were defeated in the last moments in the reverse fixture at Geoffroy Guichard, being reduced to eleven against ten following the injury of Léo Dubois. The stakes are therefore doubled in what is and will remain one of the biggest derbies in the world.
ASSE have been in poor form lately. Currently 15th in the championship just two points from 18th (Nîmes, who are currently in the play-off place), Denis Bouanga and his teammates have had it tough. In the last five Ligue 1 Conforama matches, the Loire club has had four defeats and one draw. Add to that a tension between the club’s starting goalkeeper, Stéphane Ruffier, and the coach, Claude Puel, and not much helps the club’s situation. The only positive point that we can evoke is the fact that ASSE are still in the running in the Coupe de France and that they will play their semi-final against Stade Rennais at home, thus aiming for a place at Stade de France at the end of April. But a victory will be almost imperative for Les Verts this Sunday, as the risk of seeing Ligue 2 is fast approaching.
Get the latest on the derby OL - ASSE on OLTV and OLPLAY by clicking here