By Matthew Spiro at Stade Gerland
Olympique Lyonnais sealed their place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in style, thrashing Werder Bremen, with Sylvain Wiltord scoring a hat-trick to help his side wrap up an emphatic aggregate victory.
Having won the first leg 3-0, Lyon cruised through after a superb display of attacking football. In addition to Wiltord's goals, Michael Essien was on target twice in the first half while Florent Malouda and Jérémy Berthod also found the net as the French champions reached the least eight for the second successive season.
Lyon opted for a cautious formation as Eric Abidal moved to central defence and Berthod came in at left-back, while central striker Wiltord was flanked by Malouda and Sidney Govou. Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf made his intentions clear by picking three forwards, Ivan Klasnic recovering from a calf injury to join Miroslav Klose and Nelson Valdez up front. Captain Frank Baumann returned from suspension, while left-back Ludovic Magnin was fit to start.
The visitors went in search of the early goal they hoped would put doubt in the Lyon minds, and Valdez twice combined cleverly with Johan Micoud in the opening minutes. But Lyon threatened on the break every time Bremen lost possession and it came as no surprise when Wiltord opened the scoring after eight minutes, collecting Malouda's pass and steering a shot inside Andreas Reinke's far post.
Lyon goalkeeper Grégory Coupet was called into action twice, first saving Klose's long-range strike then easily gathering a tame shot from Valdez. The French champions did not seem fazed, however, and doubled their lead with a beautifully-crafted goal on 17 minutes. Govou cut in from the right and fed the ball to Wiltord, whose clever dummy allowed Essien to steady himself and unleash a ferocious shot into the bottom corner.
Bremen looked to bounce back but their luck seemed out when Valérien Ismaël headed Micoud's corner against the crossbar on 27 minutes. The home side were in determined mood and scored a third three minutes later, Essien bursting through the heart of the Bremen defence and rounding Reinke to score his second.
Micoud on target
Six goals behind on aggregate, Bremen refused to let their heads drop and pulled one back in the 32nd minute as former FC Girondins de Bordeaux playmaker Micoud collected Cris's poor clearance to rifle in from close range. The goal gave the German champions more confidence and Magnin tested Coupet with a long-range free-kick shortly before the break.
Schaaf replaced Klose with midfield player Tim Borowski at half-time as Bremen switched to a more defensive formation, but the change made little difference as Lyon continued to attack with speed and verve. Govou laid on a fourth in the 55th minute, slipping a pass through for Wiltord to dink the ball over Reinke.
Ismaël pulled one back from the penalty spot two minutes later following a foul on Fabian Ernst by Lamine Diatta, but Lyon made it 5-2 on the hour, Malouda jinking in from the right and striking a low shot inside the near post from the edge of the area. Amazingly Le Guen's side scored a sixth four minutes later, Wiltord meeting Govou's cross from the right to complete his hat-trick.
The home team finished the game in complete control and capped a tremendous performance with a seventh goal eleven minutes from time. Substitute Nilmar was fouled by Frank Fahrenhorst, and Berthod slotted in the resulting penalty to put the final seal on a devastating display.
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|Paul Le Guen (FRA)||Thomas Schaaf (GER)|
|Valentin Ivanov (RUS)|
|Tikhon Kalugin (RUS), Nikolai Golubev (RUS)|
|Igor Egorov (RUS)|