Preview: Lyon vs Real Madrid

Lyon and Real Madrid shields
Lyon vs Real Madrid

At this exact moment, Tuesday, February 22, Champions League last-16 knockout round, Real Madrid could have come with the autopilot. In fact, reached this place in the last six seasons with different coaches: from Luxemburgo to Pellegrini. It is now that Mourinho should appear. It is now that the team has to differentiate and win the opponent that has not won in six games and fly with a drag less.

It does not seem so difficult and here lies the first difficulty. It did not seem dangerous Monaco, Rome, nor Lyon last season, which white fans hardly remember any of its stars. And against all, Real Madrid was defeated.

To correct this dark drift, Mourinho secretly prepares a team. In principle, it would be expected he will play with a triple pivot; with Lass, Xabi and Khedira, three very physical midfielders to slow the local push. In this case, Di Maria would be sacrificed and in front of the media line Cristiano and Özil would move with Adebayor as striker. Not a bad plan.

Another option would be to advance the position of Marcelo, cover his position with Arbeloa and dispense with one of the industrial pivot; Khedira or Lass. In any variant, Arbeloa, who rested against Levante, points to starter, either the left or to replace Sergio Ramos who five years later does not escape of his reputation; messy defense.

The tactical problem is not minor: Lyon last year accumulated up to four players in midfield and the movement of Madrid was collapsed, choked under pressure and without sides where relief (Marcelo was low). The result is that Makoun scored; 1-0.

Lyon will repeat the base of the last season team; Lloris, Réveillère, Cissokho, Toulalan, Delgado, Bastos, Källström and Bafetimbi Gomis. Add to them the aristocratic Gourcuff (signed by 26.5 million from Girondins). Yes, Lyon have improved substantially.

Lisandro is special case. He will miss the match for temporary insanity, annoyed by his replacement in the last league game, kick a ball with such rage that was injured. Despite the setback, Lyon is presented in the spirit of its last matches (1-4 at Saint-Etienne, 4-0 against Nancy). Two victories that kept team in the fight for the title, waiting to play the next day against the leader, Lille, four points ahead.

The game does not lack a grand stage. Gerland Stadium was built in 1920 by German prisoners of World War I and declared "historical monument" in 1967 by its archways. Moreover, conventional: 41,000 spectators and high humidity due to the proximity of the Rhone and Saone rivers, which converge at 700 meters from the field.

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