April 21, 2021

Lyon vs Bayern Munich preview

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Team news and ways to follow ahead of Lyon vs Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals.

Bayern Munich meet Lyon on Wednesday in the second of two Franco-German Champions League semi-finals in Lisbon.

After their quarter-final demolition of Barcelona on Friday, Bayern are now favourites to secure a sixth European Cup and emulate the treble of 2013. The Bavarians have scored 39 goals in sweeping aside every team faced this season across the continent.

Lyon have surpassed all expectations by reaching the Champions League last four
Image: Lyon have surpassed all expectations by reaching the Champions League last four

Lyon are the surprise package of the final four, having been among the third seeds ahead of the group stages back in September. They scraped through a group containing Benfica, Zenit Saint Petersburg and RB Leipzig, but Lyon have gone from strength to strength.

Rudi Garcia’s side have hit on a winning formula for playing against more fancied opponents having shocked Manchester City in the previous round. The Ligue 1 club’s 3-5-2 set-up will pose Bayern problems, while Moussa Dembele’s double against City demonstrated the quality of Garcia’s options on the bench.

Reflecting on the City scalp, forward Maxwel Cornet said: “It was a great joy for all of us. We had time to recover and to process our feelings, because against City it was an incredible night. We really savoured those moments, and now we are focused on tomorrow’s match.

Maxwel Cornet will hope to lead the line once more for Lyon on Wednesday
Image: Maxwel Cornet will hope to lead the line once more for Lyon on Wednesday

“Everything is possible in a knockout match, we will have to impose our qualities. We will be defending with great attention, and we know that in the front we have players who can make the difference in any moment.

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“So the main thing will be to be like we have been against City, a team of players all working hard for their teammates. That was the key against City, and we will hold tight to that against Bayern as well.”

Bayern are an unstoppable force at present, and Thomas Muller sounded an ominous note following the side’s 8-2 butchering of Barcelona when he said “everything starts from zero” in the semi-final.

Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller will provide a potent threat to Lyon
Image: Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller will provide a potent threat to Lyon

The Bundesliga club advanced to the Champions League final in 2009/10 after eliminating Lyon but Bayern boss Hansi Flick said: Those who know me do not need to be reminded that I refuse to live in the past.

“Of course we were happy about the result against Barcelona. But we still have plans and we all know how quickly things can happen in football. We need to look ahead, collect energy and then things start at 0-0.

“We have enough experienced players in our team who understand this, but we are still preparing in the best possible way. There are still things we need to improve.”

Team news

Benjamin Pavard's effort was bundled into his own net by Jorgensen
Image: Benjamin Pavard may have to settle for a place on the Bayern Munich bench

Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard has fully recovered from an ankle injury and could be part of the squad.

Pavard, who had an outstanding season as Bayern won the domestic league and Cup double, injured ligaments in his ankle late last month but returned to fitness quicker than expected.

He missed their sensational 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter-finals last week but has joined the team in Lisbon.

Kingsley Coman is pushing for a recall in place of Ivan Perisic, but Flick is unlikely to make changes to his starting XI.

The same can be said of Lyon following their heroics against City, with Dembele pushing for inclusion up top after his double from the bench against City, which could mean Karl Toko Ekambi dropping out.

Maxence Caqueret, Bruno Guimaraes and Houssem Aouar are expected to link up again in midfield.

How to follow

Follow Lyon vs Bayern Munich on Sky Sports’ digital platforms with a dedicated live blog from 6.45pm on Wednesday.

Charlie’s prediction

Moussa Dembele in training with Rayan Cherki ahead of the semi-final
Image: Moussa Dembele in training with Rayan Cherki ahead of the semi-final

Everybody was expecting it to be Manchester City facing Bayern Munich in this semi-final, and you can understand why, but Lyon did what they needed to do and did so brilliantly.

Bayern were excellent going forward but I do think they are weak at the back. There is no team playing with fear left in this competition. Moussa Dembele was left on the bench but his match-winning performance surely warrants a start.

Bayern’s weakness is their defence, but you would expect Dembele to start. They did not get it right, as City had them by throat, but the changes did make the difference.

Bayern have an abundance of pace. Thomas Muller is still turning up, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies were excellent, and Robert Lewandowski is just full of goals. I cannot see any reason why Bayern will not win, but I do not expect an 8-2 scoreline or Lyon to be as bad defensively as Barcelona were. It will not be plain sailing for the German champions.

CHARLIE PREDICTS: 1-2 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

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Bayern boss Hansi Flick knows his side are odds-on favourites to beat Lyon
Image: Bayern boss Hansi Flick knows his side are odds-on favourites to beat Lyon
  • FC Bayern München and Lyon will meet in European competition for the ninth time, with the German side winning four of the previous eight (D2 L2). Indeed, the last time they met was also in the Champions League semi-finals, with Bayern winning 4-0 on aggregate in 2009-10.
  • This will be FC Bayern München’s 12th appearance in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, with only Real Madrid (13) reaching the final four of the competition on more occasions; the German side have failed to progress from each of their last four semi-finals, since winning the competition in 2012/13.
  • Lyon manager Rudi Garcia is looking to become just the second French manager to lead a French team to the Champions League final, following Didier Deschamps with Monaco back in 2003-04.
  • FC Bayern München are just the second side in UEFA Champions League history to win their first nine games in a campaign (after Barcelona in 2002/03 – a run of nine), whilst a victory in this match would see them equal the longest winning run in the competition’s history (10 set by Bayern in November 2013 and Real Madrid in February 2015)
Bayern Munich's players celebrate their second goal against Barcelona
Image: Bayern Munich’s players celebrate their second goal against Barcelona
  • Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar has assisted seven goals in his 14 appearances in the Champions League; since his debut season in the competition in 2018-19, only Kylian Mbappé (10) and Riyad Mahrez (eight) have more assists.
  • In all competitions, FC Bayern München are on the longest unbeaten run across Europe’s top five league’s (P28 W27 D1 L0), scoring 94 goals during this run (3.4 per game) and winning each of their last 19. In the UEFA Champions League alone this season they have netted 39 goals, with only three sides scoring more in a single campaign in the competition’s history.
  • Lyon have not won consecutive Champions League matches in a single campaign since the 2011-12 season when defeating Dinamo Zagreb and APOEL Nicosia; 2019-20 is their fourth Champions League campaign since then.
  • Robert Lewandowski has scored in eight consecutive UEFA Champions League appearances for Bayern München – only Ruud Van Nistelrooy in 2003 (9) and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018 (11) have scored in more successive matches in the competition’s history; indeed, only Cristiano Ronaldo (17 in 13/14, 16 in 15/16 & 15 in 17/18) has scored more goals in a single Champions League season than Lewandowski this campaign (14).
  • In their respective quarter-finals, Bayern’s Philippe Coutinho and Lyon’s Moussa Dembele both scored twice as 75th minute substitutes. They now both jointly hold the record for fewest minutes played in a Champions League knockout match while scoring at least twice (15 minutes).