Which team is the better Champions League team?

If Lyon want to advance, Lisandro needs to put the easy ones away.

Well, now the first matches are over. We saw Lyon take on the mighty Real Madrid while we saw Bordeaux take on Olympiacos, which was a match that we easily expected them to win.

Lyon played at the Stade Gerland while Bordeaux played on the road. And with both games in the books, who has the better chance to advance?

Honestly, that is a hard question to answer. So, instead of clumping both results and situations together, lets look at both of them separately.

First, lets look at Lyon. As we all know, Lyon took on Real Madrid at home. Many people expected Real to come out with a small victory, maybe even a draw. Still, very few people expected Lyon to dominate the star power of the Spanish club. But that is exactly what they did with a 1-0 match at home. And anyone watching that match could tell you that it could have easily been 3-0 or 4-0. Ceaser Delgado hit the post, Lisandro was handed a gift by Real keeper Iker Casillas that he couldn’t convert. Still, Lyon dominated the match.

In addition to winning, Lyon kept the offensive firepower of Real from scoring that ever-important away goal.

But with the next match being at The Bernabéu, those missed chances at the Stade Gerland might just bite Lyon right in the ass. They had their chances to really make a statement at home, but in the end, Real is a team that is easily capable to winning in Madrid by a score of 3-1, thus knocking out Lyon (ask Marseille).

One of the strong points for Lyon in that match was their defense. While they have been less than impressive so far this season, they looked quite strong in this match, basically shutting down Kaka and Christiano Ronaldo. And if this defense can continue to play strong in Madrid (with additional defensive support provided by Jeremy Toulalan, who had a stellar match), Lyon might finally be able to make it out of that first round of the knockout stages.

Still, I’m afraid that the missed chances in the first game might spell the doom of Les Gones.

Now, lets look at the other match, Bordeaux vs. Olympiacos. Going into this match, I think that most people expected Bordeaux to win easily on the road and secure a trip to the next round. And with a 1-0 win on the road, they more than likely did that. But how they secured that win was less than impressive.

Bordeaux played their match like they have almost every other match this season…by a small margin and on a set piece. Like in many of their matches, Bordeaux seem to be comfortable winning in small margins. The problem is, and many of us already know this, is that a small lead and three points can easily turn into a draw and only one point (in league play, that is). And in the last two minutes of stoppage time, we saw that almost become a reality for Bordeaux.

While many people look at Yoann Gourcuff, Marouane Chamakh and many other players on Bordeaux, the team’s MVP for the year might actually be goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso. Carrasso has, time and time again, saved his team from defeat. He always seems to make the clutch saves and the end of the match which gives Bordeaux the three points that they, usually, don’t deserve.

Still, Laurent Blanc and his men seem perfectly fine playing this style of play. And for Les Girondins, playing the next match at home should easily see them through to the quarter-finals.

But with all of that said and done…who really deserves to be there?

Lyon, as in recent years past, has always had the bad luck of the draw. Still, if Lyon plans on making a run to the Champions League title, teams like Real Madrid are EXACTLY who they need to beat in order to win. It doesn’t matter if you are in the first round or the Champions League final, you will still, eventually, have to play a team that is the caliber of Real Madrid.

So, if Lyon can make it past Real, they have great momentum to propel toward the finals at The Bernabéu (ironic as it is).

On the other hand, Bordeaux need to find a way to win games by a larger amount. They should advance to the next round, which is good. But, if you are Laurent Blanc, would you want to be up on a team like Manchester United by only one goal with only a few minutes remaining? Champions League 1999? Bayern Munich up 1-0…Sheringham and Solskjær. Remember? Bordeaux doesn’t need to fall into this trap, which they easily could.

So, basically, in a nutshell….Lyon has the best chance to make the finals, but Bordeaux needs to find something in order to take on the big boys (which they usually aren’t successful in doing).

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3 Responses

  1. i am anxious to see how Lyon can do at the Bernabeu. I have only seen Lyon play a few times this year prior to last’s week CL match, but they looked fast and spirited at home. Hopefully they can take that to Spain with them and play well again.

  2. Real Madrid is going to come out with guns blazing. If Lyon can hold them for the first hour, RM may be susceptible to counter attacks as they get desperate to score. The pressure will be on the Galaticos. Bordeaux should go through although Greek teams always seem to play pretty solid defense.

  3. […] Now it’s on to the draw, scheduled for Friday midday. Lyon and Bordeaux supporters will be stressing, as always in front of the ever-so-slow drawing process. But we’ll all have the certainty that whoever the opponent, they are not out of our reach. Lyon played with heart and passion against Real Madrid, and undoubtedly will be able to reproduce this kind of performance ; and Bordeaux got a well-needed wake-up call when Mitroglou tied the game yesterday. Lyon has the experience of European games which will come in handy again and make me think (obviously I am biased, but still) that they are capable of going further than Bordeaux. Govou, Cris, Toulalan are stepping up and becoming real leaders. Even Lisandro Lopez is taking responsibilities for the club : legend has it that he asked Puel to write on the white-board a little speech he had prepared for his teammates before the return leg in Madrid. I’ll leave the final word about who can go further to Dave, who already covered the topic. […]

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