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Champions League Preview: Lyon - Fiorentina

                   Wednesday Sep 16, 2009 7:45 PM CET

                                Stade Gerland, Lyon

Here We Go Again

Wednesday night boasts one of the more interesting of opening matches in this year's Champions League. Olympique Lyonnais and Fiorentina met last year in the opening matches of the competition, and this clash that will leave the teams with a sense of deja vu, but offering the Italian contingent a chance at revenge.

Last season, on the 17th of September, Lyon fought back at the Stade Gerland, after falling two goals behind in the earlier stages of the game. Frederic Piquionne and Karim Benzema were the protagonists in this spirited comeback.

Benzema struck again in Florence to add to Jean II Makoun's goal after only 15 minutes, giving the visitors a two goal lead. Alberto Gilardino, who had scored a double in the first leg, tried as hard he could to bring his side back into the tie, but could only score once to provide an eventual 2-1 scoreline in favour of the French.

For Viola boss Cesare Prandelli, Wednesday night is sure to spell payback time.

Progress Breakdown

This year's Champions League will see Lyon competing in the competition for the tenth consecutive season. Claude Puel's men have successfully reached the knockout rounds in each of the past six campaigns.

Having lost out to Lyon and Bayern Munich last term, the Viola will be determined to reach the last 16 for the first time since the 1999-00 season of the competition.

It is also worth noting that Fiorentina have enjoyed a great run of form while on the road so far in this season's Champions League, losing only one out of eight away games so far.

FORM GUIDE

Lyon

Sep 12 Lyon 1-0 Lorient (Ligue 1)

Aug 29 Lyon 3-1 Nancy (Ligue 1)

Aug 25 Anderlecht 1-3 Lyon (Champions League)

Aug 22 Auxerre 0-3 Lyon (Ligue 1)

Aug 19 Lyon 5-1 Anderlecht (Champions League)

Fiorentina

Sep 13 Fiorentina 1-0 Cagliari (Serie A)

Aug 30 Fiorentina 1-0 Palermo (Serie A)

Aug 26 Fiorentina 1-1 Sporting Lisbon (Champions League)

Aug 22 Bologna 1-1 Fiorentina (Serie A)

Aug 18 Sporting Lisbon 2-2 Fiorentina (Champions League)


TEAM NEWS

Lyon

Jean-Alain Boumsong will be forced to watch, as he finds himself sidelined for four weeks after picking up a groin injury during training. Boumsong's injury leaves Lyon with only two centre-backs, Cris and Mathieu Bodmer. Anderson is also still out with a leg injury, while Lisandro Lopez is questionable after a taking a knock on international duty with Argentina.

Probable Starting XI:
H. Lloris - Cris, A. Réveillère, A. Cissokho, M. Bodmer - M. Bastos, J. Makoun, M. Pjanic, M. Gonalons - B. Gomis, Lisandro Lopez.

Fiorentina


Former Chelsea player Adrian Mutu failed to feature in Fiorentina's 1-0 win over Cagliari at the weekend due to fitness issues, but the Romanian star is hopeful of getting the nod for the clash against Lyon. Additionally, an air of uncertainty remains around the fitness of Danish defender Per Klodrup.

Probable Starting XI: S. Frey, A. Gamberini, D. Dainelli, M. Pasqual, G. Comotto, J. Vargas, R. Montolivo, C. Zanetti, M. Marchionni - S. Jovetic, A. Gilardino.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Lyon

The signing of Michel Bastos has proved a masterstroke on the part of Claude Puel, the young Brazilian already scoring in three of his seven starts for OL since his arrival. Bastos has been running riot in the midfield area of late and will look to continue doing so against his side's Italian opponents.

Fiorentina

At the tender age of only 19, Montenegrin star Stevan Jovetic is really coming into his own this season - and at such an early stage in his career. Jovetic has been knocking at Pradelli's door for a starting XI place for a while now, and has been asking questions of the players who are being chosen ahead of him.

PREDICTION

Taking into consideration the injury list at Lyon and the tactical nature of Italian football, Wednesday night's clash is a tough one to call. It would not be unrealistic to see history repeat itself in what is sure to be one of the most exciting opening matches of this season's Champions League.

Lyon 2-2 Fiorentina

Stephen Crawford, Goal.com