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Anderlecht praying for a miracle

Ariël Jacobs urged his RSC Anderlecht players to "restore the club's reputation" as he underlined the need for a flying start against an Olympique Lyonnais side holding a convincing 5-1 first-leg lead.

Anderlecht coach Ariël Jacobs needs something special against Lyon
Anderlecht coach Ariël Jacobs needs something special against Lyon ©Getty Images

RSC Anderlecht are on a revenge mission against the Olympique Lyonnais team that humbled them 5-1 in their UEFA Champions League play-off first leg in France last Wednesday. The team from Brussels have a mountain to climb but coach Ariël Jacobs reminded his players of the scare given them by Sivasspor in the previous round – the Turkish outfit scoring two early goals to raise comeback hopes after Anderlecht's 5-0 first-leg victory – as he urged them to "restore the club's reputation".

Ariël Jacobs, Anderlecht coach
We are 5-1 behind but this match is still very important for us. The players are eager to get their revenge – for our own pride, to prove we can do better, and also out of a feeling of guilt, to restore the club's reputation in Europe. We also want it for the fans who travelled with us to Lyon, whose hopes of a good result were shot to pieces. I was not surprised by Lyon's strength in that match but I was impressed by the simplicity they showed in their play – with their individual players and as a team. We have to hope now for a Sivasspor scenario. They were 5-0 behind from the first leg against us and got back very quickly into the tie to 2-0 [before eventually winning 3-1].

Claude Puel, Lyon coach
Anderlecht are a team with a lot of qualities as they showed in the first part of the second half [last week]. We were very strong at home, we played at a high level as a team and as individuals. Anderlecht are a dangerous team when you let them play football – they have some technically skilled players, and players who can keep the ball and change the speed at the right moment. We did well in the home match because we were able to neutralise their attacking game. We must not let Anderlecht get a foothold. We saw what they could produce when we relaxed a little bit last week. I only hope my players are mature enough to realise that we have not qualified yet.

Key stats
• Anderlecht must produce one of the greatest comebacks in European club competition history if they are to deny Lyon a tenth successive appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage. They go into the second leg trailing 5-1 with Miralem Pjanić, Lisandro (pen), Michel Bastos and Bafétimbi Gomis (2) all finding the net for the Ligue 1 side against opponents for whom Matías Suárez's strike offered scant consolation.

• The Belgian side have never lost at home to French opposition, recording four wins and three draws in seven previous meetings with visitors from across the border.

• One of those Anderlecht victories was a 1-0 win over Lyon in the clubs' only previous encounter in Brussels in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stage. Hannu Tihinen got the 71st-minute goal that avenged an identical loss at the Stade de Gerland. Daniel Zítka and Olivier Deschacht featured in both of those fixtures for Anderlecht, while Sidney Govou and Anthony Réveillère did likewise for Lyon. Anderlecht assistant coach Besnik Hasi also played for the Belgian outfit.

• Lyon's record in Belgium is one win and three defeats from four previous visits.

How they reached the play-offs
• A dramatic season in the Eerste Klasse ended with Anderlecht level on points with R. Standard de Liège at the summit, necessitating a title play-off decider that Standard clinched 2-1 on aggregate. Defeat set up Jacobs' team with a third qualifying round tie against Turkey's Sivasspor. They promptly recorded a 5-0 home win, with Tom De Sutter twice on target, before Jelle Van Damme scored in a 3-1 away loss.

• After winning the Ligue 1 title seven years in succession, Lyon relinquished their crown to Bordeaux last term, finishing third and having to settle for a play-off round place. Les Gones have only failed once previously in UEFA Champions League qualifying, losing 3-0 on aggregate to NK Maribor in the third qualifying round in 1999/2000. The following season, they overcame FK Inter Bratislava to reach the group stage for the first time, going on to earn an automatic place every year since.

Team news
Out: Daniel Zítka (ankle), Sébastien Bruzzese (shoulder), Jonathan Legear (pelvis), Nicolas Frutos (match fitness)
Suspended: Jelle Van Damme
Misses next match if booked: Jan Polák, Silvio Proto, Matías Suárez

Out: Anderson (knee), Ederson (ankle), Sidney Govou (knee), Fabio Grosso (unspecified), John Mensah (calf)
Suspended: none
Misses next game if booked: none

Weekend results
22/08/09 SV Zulte Waregem 0-2 Anderlecht (Belgian Eerste Klasse)
(Boussoufa 43, Lukaku 88)

22/08/09 AJ Auxerre 0-3 Lyon (French Ligue 1)
(Boumsong 31, Makoun 46, Pjanić 65)

Did you know?
Only three times before has a team battled back from such a heavy first-leg loss:

1961/62 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round
Leixões SC v FC La Chaux-de-Fonds 2-6, 5-0

1984/85 UEFA Cup second round
FK Partizan v Queens Park Rangers FC 2-6, 4-0

1985/86 UEFA Cup third round
Real Madrid CF v VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-5, 4-0