Lille - Valencia Preview: Los Che eye Group F top spot
The Liga outfit travel to France knowing they must better Bayern Munich's result against BATE Borisov to win the group and secure a potentially favourable draw in the round of 16
By Karthick Arvinth
Debuchy, Basa, Rozehnal, Beria
Balmont, Gueye, Martin
Kalou, Roux, Rodelin
Pereira, Rami, R Costa, Cissokho
Gago, T Costa
Feghouli, Banega, Guardado
Lille could welcome back striker Ryan Mendes from an ankle injury for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Valencia at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole.
Fellow attacker Tulio de Melo is sidelined with a hamstring problem, while defender Djibril Sidibe and midfielder Benoit Pedretti are suspended.
With Lille guaranteed to finish bottom of Group F, boss Rudi Garcia is likely to make several changes to the side that played out a goalless draw with Bastia on Saturday.
Valencia, meanwhile, are without injured duo Sergio Canales and Jeremy Mathieu, while Antonio Barragan and Roberto Soldado serve suspensions.
Newly-appointed coach Ernesto Valverde is expected to watch his team from the stands, with caretaker boss Salvador Gonzalez taking charge from the touchline.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Lille are on a three-match winless run in Ligue 1 and have failed to register on the scoresheet in that sequence.
- Les Dogues have never lost to Spanish opposition at home in five outings (W2, D3).
- Lille have received 17 yellow cards in the Champions League this season, more than any other club.
- Valencia have won just two of their last six matches in all competitions.
- The Mestalla club are on a 16-match unbeaten run against French teams since losing the first leg of the 1979-80 European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final against Nantes.
- To top Group F, Valencia must better Bayern Munich's result against BATE Borisov in the other group match. A Bayern win will see the Bundesliga side through as group winners regardless of the outcome in northern France.
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Top 3 Predictions
Lille OSC 1-2 Valencia
- 17.62 %
Lille OSC 0-2 Valencia
- 17.62 %
Lille OSC 1-1 Valencia
- 10.25 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||5 Dec 2012||Lille OSC 0 - Valencia 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2 Oct 2012||Valencia 2 - Lille OSC 0|
|Europa League (EL)||2 Dec 2009||Valencia 3 - Lille OSC 1|
|Europa League (EL)||17 Sep 2009||Lille OSC 1 - Valencia 1|
|9 Mar 2014||Lille OSC 2 - Montpellier Herault SC 0||Lig1|
|2 Mar 2014||AC Ajaccio 2 - Lille OSC 3||Lig1|
|23 Feb 2014||Lille OSC 0 - Olympique Lyonnais 0||Lig1|
|16 Feb 2014||Evian Thonon Gaillard 2 - Lille OSC 2||Lig1|
|11 Feb 2014||Lille OSC 3 - Caen 3||FRAC|
|21||Aurélien Chedjou Fongang||Defender|
|24||Rio Antonio Mavuba||Midfielder|
|18||Jose Andrés Guardado||Midfielder|
The Ivory Coast international has not managed to establish himself in the Lille first team despite netting a crucial winner against Brest in Ligue 1 in November. The 27-year-old will look to make the most of this opportunity and enhance his chances of holding down a regular starting berth.
The Paraguayan looks set to make a rare start in attack in place of the suspended Roberto Soldado as he vies to extend his scoring run following the Copa del Rey win over Llagostera. Valdez will look to cash in on the counterattack and fire Valencia to top spot in Group F.
Despite their stuttering domestic form, Valencia have been solid away from home in Europe and they will be keen to bounce back after the 5-2 home defeat against Real Sociedad at the weekend.