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With three successive victories having put the smiles back on the faces of his Olympique Lyonnais squad, coach Claude Puel is hoping for more of the same when SL Benfica come calling on Wednesday. The visitors may trail the Group B leaders by three points, but have taken confidence from a UEFA Europa League victory at Olympique de Marseille last season.
Claude Puel, Lyon coach
People will say we are favourites because we are at home, but I'm sure it won't be that easy. Benfica are a good team with talented players. They deserved more [than a 2-0 defeat] against Schalke last time out. Every game is important.
We will have to keep working towards qualification right until the end of the group stage, regardless of the result tomorrow. We had a good game against Lille on Sunday [winning 3-1] and we have to go on winning games. The group is really ambitious. Smiles and pleasure have returned to our training sessions.
Jorge Jesus, Benfica coach
We're here to win, as we did in Marseille last season. We'll play our own game, but at the same time keep an eye on their creative players such as Yoann Gourcuff, Michel Bastos, Lisandro and Jimmy Briand. I've watched them a lot, and if they win this game they'll be close to ten points and almost through to the next round. Of the three teams with the most chance of going through, the team which drops the most points against Hapoel will be eliminated.
Jérémy Toulalan has been ruled out with a foot injury aggravated against LOSC Lille Métropole at the weekend. Cris made his first start since recovering from a thigh injury, though similar issues continue to trouble Bastos, Jean Makoun, Ederson, Alexandre Lacazette and César Delgado.
Fábio Coentrão sat out Saturday's Portuguese Cup match against FC Arouca with a minor right leg injury while Óscar Cardozo (knee), Ruben Amorim (knee) and Roderick (hamstring) are longer-term absentees.
17/10/10 Lyon 3-1 LOSC Lille Métropole
(Lisandro 2 56pen, Gourcuff 41; Sow 52)
Gourcuff hit his first goal since joining Lyon from FC Girondins de Bordeaux as Puel, who was without the suspended Briand, earned his first win in six attempts against a Lille side he coached between 2002 and 2008. Lyon survived the last 20 minutes with ten men after Jérémy Pied's dismissal.
16/10/10 Benfica 5-1 FC Arouca
(Kardec 23 44, Saviola 30, Luisão 65, Gaitán 85; Diogo 88)
Jesus's side booked their place in the Portuguese Cup fourth round with victory against second division Arouca. Nicolás Gaitán's goal was his first for Benfica, who have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games.
Did you know?
The sides have not met in a competitive fixture before though Lyon have crossed swords with FC Porto, SC Farense and Sporting Clube de Portugal. They have come out on top only twice in nine fixtures against Portuguese sides, winning home and away against Farense in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup first round. Their other four home games brought two defeats and two draws.
See the match background for more information.
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