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PSV land Lyon kings

Published: Friday 18 March 2005, 17.00CET
Former European champions PSV Eindhoven will take on French pretenders Olympique Lyonnais for the first time. features

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Published: Friday 18 March 2005, 17.00CET

PSV land Lyon kings

Former European champions PSV Eindhoven will take on French pretenders Olympique Lyonnais for the first time.
While the media spotlight focused firmly on the so-called big hitters in this year's UEFA Champions League, Olympique Lyonnais and PSV Eindhoven were quietly coming to terms with the news that they will lock horns for the first time in their history.

Last eight
The Dutch club, who won their only European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1988, beat AS Monaco FC in the Round of 16 to secure their place in the quarter-finals for the first time since the Champions League's inception in 1992. But Lyon, French champions for three years running but still without a continental trophy, have been in sparkling form in this year's tournament both home and away.

At first we were satisfied with reaching the final eight, and after that we looked at whom we would like to play against most. Admittedly, Lyon are not the easiest opponents we could have faced. For many Lyon are a relatively unknown side, but they definitively have a good team. Now we must look at their strengths. We'll travel to France this weekend to see them play against [RC] Strasbourg. We know just a little bit about them at the minute, so we cannot say too much right now. But one of the players I do know very well is [Mahamadou] Diarra, who played at [SBV] Vitesse Arnhem, and also Juninho [Pernambucano] and [Sylvain] Wiltord. Playing away the first match is not really an advantage anymore. Look at our match against Monaco, at home we won with 1-0, everyone said it was too little, and then we won away with 0-2. PSV coach Guus Hiddink

"We're playing well and we could give anyone a good game. It would have been nice for the supporters to draw AC Milan or Juventus [FC] and a great test for us. But PSV will be tough and if we can beat them then we will have a Milan side in the last four." Lyon midfield playmaker Juninho

"This is a meeting of two outsiders. PSV have knocked out last season's finalists in Monaco and now we have to try to get past them. PSV are one of the best clubs in Europe, while Lyon are the only club in this company that has never won a European title. It will be very difficult for us, and we have to be realistic about our chances, but we have to show our attacking style." Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas

"Before the draw, we said to each other that we would prefer to avoid meeting an Italian opponent. However, I see a lot of French football on television and I know that Lyon are a good, strong and attractive team. They have been champions three times in a row, and they are leading again. That tells you everything about their strength." PSV captain Mark van Bommel

We are pleased with the draw. No doubt they will be tough opponents as any side that can score ten times in two games against the German champions must be pretty useful. Before the start of the season we did not expect to come this far, but we beat Monaco twice. We knew they would be tough opponents but our two wins show we deserve to be in the tournament at this stage." PSV spokesman Ron Verkerk

Last updated: 18/03/05 15.51CET

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