Claude Puel wants Olympique Lyonnais to get back to winning ways in the UEFA Champions League against Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC as he stressed the importance of topping Group B.
Article top media content
Olympique Lyonnais coach Claude Puel is eager for the Ligue 1 side to reproduce their recent domestic displays on the UEFA Champions League stage as he underlined what it would mean for second-placed Lyon to finish top of Group B and gain a "significant advantage" in the round of 16. Yet he is expecting no favours from a Hapoel Tel-Aviv FC side who, in the words of visiting coach Eli Gutman, have "improved a lot" since Lyon's 3-1 victory in Israel in September and still have a UEFA Europa League spot to play for.
Claude Puel, Lyon coach
It's an important game for us. Hapoel are a good team, who like playing good football. They have some up-and-coming young players, and they are less naive defensively than at the beginning of the competition. We are looking to finish in first place, not to avoid a big team in the next round, because every opponent is strong at this level, but because having the second leg at home is a significant advantage. I would like the team to repeat their performances against [Paris Saint-Germain FC, a 2-2 home draw] and Montpellier, and show a different side compared with the defeats at Schalke and Benfica [on Matchdays 4 and 5].
Eli Gutman, Hapoel coach
It's our last match and we know Lyon and Schalke have already qualified. We'll try and build on our last performance [the 3-0 win over Benfica] but I think Lyon are the best team in the group so it is by no means going to be easy. But we'll play without pressure. In the first game against Lyon, we had a bad start, but my team have improved a lot since.
Cris returned on Saturday after three weeks out with a knee injury while Jérémy Toulalan is available after recovering from a thigh problem. However, Yoann Gourcuff will miss out because of an Achilles injury while Clément Grenier remains sidelined after suffering a damaged thigh in training on 10 November. Ederson and César Delgado have been out since August, also with thigh problems.
Sidelined since Matchday 3, Gal Shish returned on Saturday along with Salim Taoma, out since sustaining a calf problem on 14 November. Romain Rocchi (stomach and groin) and Mahran Lala (ruptured knee ligaments) are long-term absentees.
04/12/10 Montpellier Hérault SC 1-2 Lyon
(Spahić 80; Lisandro 5, 90+4)
Lisandro's goals assured Lyon of their highest placing of the campaign, fifth, and extended their unbeaten Ligue 1 run to nine games. Puel's side were 18th at the start of that sequence, having picked up five points from their first seven matches.
04/12/10 Hapoel Petach-Tikva FC 1-5 Hapoel
(Fransman og 37; Tamuz 5 52, Da Silva 23, Zahavi 27, Abutbul 75)
Toto Tamuz took his tally to four league goals in three games as Hapoel equalled their biggest league win of the campaign.
Did you know?
While Lyon have reached the knockout rounds for the eighth season in a row, they have not finished as group winners since 2006/07.
See the match background for more information.