Champions League: Lyon

Olympique Lyonnaisde Rudi Garcia meets Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the Champions League semi-final. A Franco-German duel that will have revenge in more ways than one.

Will Olympique Lyonnais reach the Champions League final for the first time in its history? A big obstacle is on the way, Bayern Munich, the competition’s big favorite. Not enough to scare the band from Memphis Depay, who have already tripped Juventus Turin from Cristiano Ronaldo in the eighth and Manchester City of Pep Guardiola.

The second Franco-German semi-final, which was played on Wednesday 19 August after the one between RB Leipzig and PSG that won on Tuesday of the latter, is a contrast of styles between the cold German realism that crushed FC Barcelona in the last round and the romantic epic of Lyon.

The historic Franco-German rivalry

As soon as a French team has to face a German team, the revenge of revenge returns. Revenge on a night in 1982 in Seville: when the French World Cup in the semifinals was eliminated after the unsanctioned attack by Patrick Battiston by the German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher. A “French trauma”, because the sports press wants to remind you of every new conflict between the two countries.

A match against a German club would also be an opportunity to avert fate in 1976, known as “Glasgow square posts”. This spring day, the Greens in Saint-Etienne will be beaten in the final of the Champions Clubs Cup – ancestor of the Champions League. To listen to Stéphanois, if the posts had been round, the shot from Bathenay and the head from Santini would have offered them victory.

Bayern, fine in Lyon 2010

Ace. None of the 22 players who met on Wednesday were born at that time and the new generations have passed on. The coaches of the two national teams, Didier Deschamps and Joachim Low, have buried the gap: “We have a relationship between sporting rivalry, but also a brotherhood,” explains world champions coaches.

Instead of seeking motivation in the distant history of relations between the two nations, Rudi Garcia should rather take advantage of the recent history of the two clubs. In 2010, during the only Champions League semi-final in its history, it was actually Bayern Munich who had taken Lyon out of continental competition.

Beaten in the first stage in Munich 1 to 0, Lyonnais had completely missed their match at Gerland. The Bavarians had then impressed with their power, their control over the match and especially their realism: the Croatian Ivica Olic had done a hat-trick in five small shots on goal. “The Olympics are a fantastic team and fantastic teams never die,” said Jean-Michel Aulas.

Ten years later, history proves him right because his players have the opportunity to avenge the violation of 2010 and, as against Juventus Turin and Manchester City, to foil the forecasts while the German daily Bild already promises a “demolition” of the Olympics.

A personal revenge for Rudi Garcia

Mocked, hated, whistled at the announcement of his name at the stadium, Lyon coach Rudi Garcia can already enjoy his personal revenge after the latest news from his players, although he denies it: “We have to give the best of ourselves, just like Everywhere I have been and especially here, you prefer to be loved and if that is not the case, it’s important to have a good time with your bosses, players and staff. And here I genuinely experience a lot of happiness. coaches’ happiness, “he explained after the qualifier against Manchester City.

His appointment in October 2019 to replace the volatile Sylvinho when the Olympics were 14e in Ligue 1 had provoked furious reactions from an edge of supporters who ignited the web and social networks. And this even before it is official. An enmity born of repeated attacks by Rudi Garcia against the Olympics during his Marseille period (2016-2019) and that the Olympics’ results in the league did not help to calm down: at the end of the French season, Lyon pointed to a shy 7e place and deprives the club of European competition for the financial year 2020-2021 in addition to a miraculous victory in the Champions League.

With his trip to the semifinals, the French technician silences the supporters’ criticswho portrayed him as a clown. And agrees with his president, Jean-Michel Aulas, who has always defended him tooth and nail.

“Rudi is a boy who does his job well, we had identified him to straighten out this Olympique Lyonnais who has the means but who did not succeed. He knew how to do it with humility, sometimes with a little difficulty because it was not is not a communicator seeking recognition a priori, “Jean-Michel Aulas responded after the victory over City. “He does his job first and makes sure he can find this recognition. So it’s not revenge, it’s just the development towards what we wanted when we gave him keys with (the sporting director) Juninho that was crucial. He supported him in difficult times. “

“It’s a confirmation for me, and I’m very happy for him, because he’s a coach who deserves recognition,” he concluded, looking towards the semi-final against Bayern: “We will fall to the favorite in this competition.”

A favorite that has left more than a bad memory to Rudi Garcia earlier. Bayern Munich have never managed to train French in the Champions League. Four defeats in as many confrontations. In total, his team scored only two goals, against 16 conceded and two humiliations: a 6-1 in Munich while he led Lille and a beat (7-1) that kept at home during his time on the bench. “AS Roma. Here too, Rudi Garcia has a revenge to seek.