Olympique Lyonnais and FC Schalke 04 are both going into their opening Group B meeting struggling for form and confidence after a disappointing start to their domestic league campaigns.
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Less than five months after the 4-0 defeat at FC Bayern München that cost Olympique Lyonnais a place in the UEFA Champions League final, Claude Puel's side face Bundesliga opposition again as FC Schalke 04 visit in Group B on Tuesday. Both teams have made disappointing starts to their domestic campaigns and Puel and opposite number Felix Magath are well aware of the scale of their challenges.
Claude Puel, Lyon coach
We can't compare this game to the semi-final against Bayern München. This is another season, another context. The thing we can say is that Schalke competed with Bayern for the title until the end last season. So, they're a great team. The Champions League is totally different to the French league. Players have to show an extraordinary potential, physically, technically and psychologically speaking, to get good results.
A lot of people consider us group favourites, but we have to be careful. Our opponents may not be as famous as Real Madrid or Barcelona, but it will be difficult. We are all roughly equal. We have a quality squad. Like us, Schalke are a wounded beast. It's not easy to be efficient when you have to integrate a lot of new players. I'm sure they will do great things this season, like us. We'll have an open game.
Felix Magath, Schalke coach
Our recent results demonstrate that the squad has gone through a lot of changes this season. It's true we've only worked with the whole team for a few days. I'm just happy to be playing in a different competition. We are happy to be here and to start against the strongest team in the group.
It's a big challenge for us. We have conceded six goals in three games, but I'm sure that the defence is going to gel. As Manuel Neuer said, it's not only a defensive matter. We'll find the solution as a team. Lyon are in the same situation in the French league, and they maybe have not got over the defeat against Bayern last season. Nevertheless, we'll have to pay attention to Lisandro, and we know that Lyon are strong at home.
Aly Cissokho, Cris, César Delgado and Ederson have all been sidelined by thigh injuries this term, though Michel Bastos and Alexandre Lacazette, who have also been suffering from similar problems, have been named in Lyon's 19-man squad.
Long-term absentees Tim Hoogland, Levan Kenia and Christian Pander are not even included on Schalke's UEFA Champions League squad list while Mario Gavranović (knee) is also missing.
11/09/10 Lyon 1-1 Valenciennes FC
(Pied 27; Bong 69)
Jérémy Pied, 21, opened the scoring on his first start for Lyon, and only his second ever appearance for the club. Yoann Gourcuff and Pape Diakhaté also made their first starts. Five points from their opening five games represents Lyon's worst start to a domestic season since 1995/96. They had 13 points at this stage last term.
10/09/10 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-0 Schalke
(Vorsah 37, Salihović 90+3)
Schalke have opened their Bundesliga campaign with three successive defeats; the last time they started with back-to-back losses, in 1987/88, they were relegated.
Did you know?
Schalke summer signing Raúl González was an unused substitute for Real Madrid CF in last season's Round of 16 first-leg match at the Stade de Gerland, won 1-0 by Lyon. The striker played in four UEFA Champions League games against the Ligue 1 side while at Madrid, drawing two and losing two – both defeats coming in France – and failed to score.
See the match background for more information.