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Olympique Lyonnais may be leading UEFA Champions League Group A, but they could return from RSC Anderlecht below the current fourth-placed side with one game left.
Only three points separate Lyon from Anderlecht, with Celtic FC and FC Bayern München sandwiched between the two ahead of their own meeting in Glasgow. Home coach Hugo Broos saw his side narrowly beaten 1-0 in Lyon in their opening game and he knows that anything less than three points in Tuesday's return could well end their campaign after they followed their 1-0 home victory against Celtic on Matchday 3 with a 3-1 defeat by the Scottish side last time out.
'Have to win'
"The situation is basically the same as before our home match against Celtic: we have to win to maintain our chances of reaching second or third place in this group," he said. "We will do everything possible to reach that goal. We all know that, with the last match away against Bayern, we need a good result now."
Defeat, indeed, would leave Anderlecht able to finish no higher than third, as could a draw. Victory would take them into the top two, but Broos is aware that Lyon have hit form recently, including a 4-1 win against fellow Ligue 1 challengers Olympique de Marseille earlier this month.
"We should not forget that we are playing against very good opponents," Broos said. "Throughout this season I have seen them developing as well. They are not the same team as two months ago. I saw their match against Marseille and I was especially impressed by their attacking power.
They are certainly strong enough to beat us."
Lyon coach Paul Le Guen has a simpler equation - win and the French champions are in the last 16. They scored a last-minute goal to beat RC Strasbourg 1-0 on Friday, and on Matchday 4 gained a superb 2-1 win at Bayern. And although Le Guen's side stumbled this time last year after a similarly impressive 2-1 victory at Internazionale FC was followed by a costly home defeat by AFC Ajax, he believes that his players are now more focused.
"Following our victories against Bayern and at Marseille, the group were happy but there was not the excess euphoria compared to last year after Milan," Le Guen said. "
The players have shown themselves to be calmer in their reactions and I firmly believe that it is due to experience."
Edmilson, Juninho Pernambucano, Grégory Coupet and Vikash Dhorasoo all missed the Strasbourg match, but while a virus has kept Dhorasoo out of the trip to Brussels, the other three are in contention. Goalkeeper Coupet remains doubtful, however, with a pulled abdominal muscle, and Le Guen said on Monday: "We will know more tomorrow morning and we are ready to give him as much chance as possible without upsetting the group." Nicolas Puydebois filled in against Strasbourg and could do so again.
As for Anderlecht, 2-0 winners at AEC Mons on Saturday, Le Guen believes they "have improved since we last played them". He added: "We are curious to see what team will start the match as they have options in defence, midfield and attack." One player who will definitely not be involved is Sherjill MacDonald who was sent home by Broos after arriving late for training on Monday. His place in the squad goes to Ukrainian forward Oleg Iachtchouck.
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