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Lyon and Ajax primed for Group D shoot-out

Coach Rémi Garde urged Olympique Lyonnais to "raise our game" ahead of their sudden-death encounter with AFC Ajax in Group D, with both teams eager to shake off domestic woes.

Lyon in training ahead of a must-win game against Ajax
Lyon in training ahead of a must-win game against Ajax ©Getty Images

Olympique Lyonnais and AFC Ajax are only too aware that their Group D encounter is a matter of UEFA Champions League life and death, with both sides eager to shake off domestic disappointments and gain a vital advantage in the race for a last-16 place.

Coach Rémi Garde

After the first game against Ajax, we have proof that they like to keep the ball, and are sharp in the last 30 metres. They even had most of the ball against Real Madrid, even though they lost [3-0].

This game is very exciting to prepare for, and really important for us. As you know, we are not going through our best period now, but we are still masters of our own destiny. The team still have the ability to do well and we are happy that Michel Bastos and Lisandro played on Friday. We'll have to raise our game, in attack and defence, if we want to have a chance of winning. We have the chance to show that we deserve second place.

Weekend result
Friday: Lyon 1-2 Stade Rennais FC
 (Ederson 36; Pitroipa 39, Kembo-Ekoko 53)
Lloris; Réveillère, B Koné, Cris, Cissokho; Källström (Grenier 86), Gourcuff; Briand (Lisandro 62), Lacazette, Ederson (Bastos 62); Gomis

• Ederson scored his first goal of the season as Lyon suffered their second loss in 26 home matches – the other came against Real Madrid CF on matchday four. Garde's team have kept only four clean sheets in 21 games in all competitions this season.

Team news
Lisandro is in line to make his first UEFA Champions League appearance of the season after three months out with an ankle problem, and Clément Grenier and Michel Bastos joined him in returning to action on Friday, following hamstring injuries. Maxime Gonalons (calf) and Dejan Lovren (knee) remain doubtful, with Rémy Vercoutre (foot), Anthony Lopes (broken leg), John Mensah (calf) and Yannis Tafer (foot) definitely out.

Coach Frank De Boer

We saw a very good Lyon team in the first game [which ended 0-0]. Besides that some important players have just come back into their team, so it won't be an easy game. We'll do our best to get a good result and, to do that, we need to stay focused for the whole game, individually and collectively. For example, we can't make the same mistakes that we did against NAC Breda at the weekend, where we conceded two goals in the last five minutes; we played well for 70 minutes.

We are in a difficult situation in the league [fourth in the table, ten points adrift of leaders AZ Alkmaar], so a good result against Lyon would be great for the club and our young players.

Weekend result
Saturday: Ajax 2-2 NAC Breda
 (Sulejmani 36, Boerrigter 84; Kolk 85, Schilder 89)
Vermeer; Van der Wiel, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Anita; Enoh, Eriksen, Janssen (Serero 66); Sulejmani, Bulykin (Lodeiro 28), Ebecilio (Boerrigter 77)

• In their first outing since losing 6-4 at FC Utrecht on 6 November, Ajax were held to a fourth successive home league draw. De Boer's side have won one of their last eight Eredivisie games, keeping a solitary clean sheet in 21 matches in domestic competition.

Team news
Siem de Jong (torn thigh muscle) and Andre Ooijer (hamstring) have been ruled out of the trip to Lyon, and Kolbeinn Sigthórsson (ankle) is a long-term absentee. Theo Janssen (hamstring) played against NAC at the weekend, but Dmitri Bulykin is doubtful after picking up a thigh injury in that game.

Match fact
The clubs met in the 2002/03 group stage, Ajax won 2-0 in France to follow up their 2-1 home matchday one victory. In the first game Zlatan Ibrahimović scored twice in the opening 34 minutes with Lyon's response limited to Sonny Anderson's goal six minutes from time. Abubakari Yakubu was sent off late on for the home team.