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Safety first suits Le Guen

Published: Tuesday 8 March 2005, 3.00CET
Paul Le Guen wants Olympique Lyonnais, leading 3-0, to show "humility and caution" against Werder Bremen.

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Published: Tuesday 8 March 2005, 3.00CET

Safety first suits Le Guen

Paul Le Guen wants Olympique Lyonnais, leading 3-0, to show "humility and caution" against Werder Bremen.

By Matthew Spiro in Lyon

Olympique Lyonnais coach Paul Le Guen has warned his players that they could take an unwanted place in the history books if they show any complacency against Werder Bremen in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League first knockout round tie on Tuesday.

First-leg lead
The French side look set to qualify for the quarter-finals for the second season running after winning the first leg 3-0 at the Weserstadion two weeks ago. They go into the game at Stade Gerland knowing the away team have been eliminated on each of the 69 occasions that such a scenario has arisen in the last 25 years.

Cautious approach
Furthermore, Lyon remain unbeaten at home in all competitions in 2004/05, while Bremen have not won in France in four attempts. But while the odds heavily favour his side, Le Guen is taking nothing for granted. "The important thing is that we don't make history by becoming the first team to lose such a lead at home," he said. "If we don't approach the game with humility and caution, we'll be in trouble."

'Quality team'
Sylvain Wiltord, Mahamadou Diarra and Juninho Pernambucano were all on target a fortnight ago, but reigning Bundesliga champions Bremen created several chances of their own. "We haven't forgotten the way they attacked us," Le Guen continued. "They're a quality team and have achieved great things in the last year and a half."

Domestic defeats
Lyon's confidence has taken a blow after two domestic defeats in the last seven days, and Le Guen hinted that they will adopt a more defensive approach than usual. "The players will obviously have the first-leg score in their heads," he said. "We need to defend well first and foremost, then attack when we can."

Wiltord alone
Jérémy Clément could be included to strengthen the midfield, with forward Pierre-Alain Frau dropping to the bench and Wiltord playing a lone striking role. Defenders Anthony Réveillère and Claudio Caçapa are still out, meaning Michael Essien will partner Cris at centre-half

Yellow peril
The Brazilian international, who excelled in Bremen, is expecting a testing evening and insists he will put in another committed performance despite being one yellow card away from suspension. "I'll go for my tackles," he vowed. "If I get booked but help Lyon go through, then I'll be happy."

Schaaf hope
Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf, meanwhile, is hoping for a repeat of the UEFA Cup tie between these clubs five years ago. Schaaf was in charge when Bremen recovered from a 3-0 defeat in Lyon to progress 4-3 on aggregate. "We need to attack from the start because 90 minutes is not a long time to score four goals," Schaaf explained.

'Early goal'
Bremen lost 1-0 against FC Bayern München at the weekend and Schaaf is hoping for a good start tonight to boost his team's morale. "We've been very disappointed with recent results," he said. "But if we get an early goal it might give us a lift and put some doubt in the Lyon players' minds."

Magnin belief
Left-back Ludovic Magnin certainly believes Bremen can go through. The Swiss international, who has shaken off a groin injury, said: "Of course we can do it. We're just going to enjoy ourselves and try to write another beautiful page in the history of German football."

Baumann back
Bremen have captain Frank Baumann back from suspension, though striker Ivan Klasnic, who has recently returned from a calf injury, looks set to be on the bench as Schaaf keeps faith with Miroslav Klose and Nelson Valdez in attack.

Last updated: 08/03/05 23.01CET