Lyon will commence their Ligue 1 season on Friday night against Dijon (20:00 kick-off), just over a week since they were eliminated from the Champions League semi-finals at the hands of eventual winners Bayern Munich.
Rudi Garcia’s men put up a valiant fight in the continent’s flagship tournament earlier this month, knocking out Juventus and Manchester City en route to their semi-final showdown against Bayern, but they will be desperate to improve upon their seventh-placed finish in Ligue 1 last term.
The Kids will not be competing in Europe this campaign following a disappointing domestic campaign in 2019/20, in which the French top-flight ended prematurely. As a result they can focus solely on domestic affairs this time round and potentially causing an upset in the upper slopes against reigning French champions PSG.
The Ligue 1 season got underway at the weekend, and Dijon kicked things off with a tame 1-0 reversal against Angers, so manager Stephane Jobard will be eager to bounce back at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, though he faces a very tough task against an in-form Lyon.
Lyon & Dijon‘s previous line-ups:
- Lyon (vs Bayern Munich): Lopes; Denayer, Marcelo, Marcal; Dubois, Caqueret, Guimaraes, Aouar, Cornet; Ekambi, Depay.
- Dijon (vs Angers): Gomis; Ngouyamsa, Manga, Lautoa, Ngonda; Marie, Diop, Ndong; Dina-Ebimbe, Chouiar, Scheidler.
Despite just recently playing Bayern in the Champions League semi-final, Garcia is likely to name an unchanged XI, bar one or two tweaks. Lyon’s poor domestic finish to 2019/20 will give the Kids an added incentive to redeem themselves this time round and that could start with a convincing performance against Dijon on home turf.
Players to watch:
- Lyon: Part of the reason for Lyon’s disastrous domestic season last time out was twofold. First, Sylvinho oversaw a shocking start to the campaign, which included seven successive winless games and culminated in his sacking. The second was an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained by club captain Memphis Depay in mid-December. The Dutchman had scored nine goals in 13 Ligue 1 games prior to his injury, and Lyon won just four games in the subsequent nine without their skipper. Having finished just a point outside the top six, there is little doubt Depay’s involvement would have got them over the line. Either way, he is now back, fit and firing on all cylinders and will be determined to make up for lost time.
- Dijon: The Owls have their work cut out for them when they face an attack as threatening and lethal as Lyon’s, as Man City and Juventus will attest to. The attacking duo of Depay and Karl Toko Ekambi, flanked by the speed and precision of Maxwel Cornet, means Dijon could be in for a tough night of football, which is why the club’s more experienced heads need to stand up and take control. In 32-year-old Bruno Ecuele Manga, Dijon have a centre-back with vast experience and someone who, having plied his trade for Cardiff City in the Premier League, has tussled with the likes of Sergio Aguero and Gabonese teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — he knows what it takes to face the big boys and that will be key on Friday night.