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Corentin Tolisso on Champions League semi-final Lyon reunion: 'I was a ball boy in 2010'

Bayern midfielder Corentin Tolisso looks ahead to his semi-final reunion with Lyon.

Corentin Tolisso in training ahead of the semi-final
Corentin Tolisso in training ahead of the semi-final FC Bayern via Getty Images

A Lyon academy product now plying his trade with Bayern, French international midfielder Corentin Tolisso is in a unique position ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final.

Now 26, Tolisso was part of the Lyon furniture for a decade before making the switch to Germany in 2017. His former employers stand between the in-form Bundesliga champions and a place in the final.

On his Lyon reunion

Tolisso looking forward to Lyon reunion
Tolisso looking forward to Lyon reunion

It’s quite outstanding. Since leaving Lyon I’ve been wondering when I’ll be able to come up against them again. I didn’t imagine it would happen in a Champions League semi-final but it’s great. I’m really happy to get to see them again, including some former team-mates and staff members too. We’re expecting a massive game against them.

It’s a team that helped me develop. I played there for ten years, from when I was very young, so it’ll definitely be a magnificent moment and one that will be very emotional for me.

On Lyon’s run to the last four

Surprised? Yes and no. In one sense, I know what they’re capable of because I watch them very, very often and I know they always turn up in big games. That said, it was difficult to imagine that they would knock out Juventus over two games and then Manchester City, but they did. So I’m surprised and unsurprised at the same time.

On Bayern vs Lyon in the 2010 semi-finals

Bayern v Lyon flashback: 2010 semi-finals
Bayern v Lyon flashback: 2010 semi-finals

In 2010, I was 15 and part of the academy at Lyon. I was a ballboy for that game in 2010, when Bayern came to Lyon and won 3-0 courtesy of an [Ivica] Olić hat-trick, I seem to recall. I was really disappointed, I remember that. It made an impression on me. Ten years have passed and now I’m in the other camp, with Bayern. I hope we see the same outcome.

On Bayern’s form

I think it’s a result of our work, how we train, and what we do day in and day out; everything we repeat in training. That aside, we’ve also got world-class players with a great deal of quality who are in great form.

We’ve got a very, very complete squad with a very, very high-quality first team and world-class strikers who also work very hard. We’ve all got the same mentality. We’re all focused on one thing only and we want to reach the final and win the Champions League. That happens by scoring goals, so you have to score goals, and that’s also what we work on a huge amount in training.

On possible complacency after Barcelona win

Tolisso in action for Lyon in 2017
Tolisso in action for Lyon in 2017Icon Sport via Getty Images

We’re in the Champions League semi-final now and I don’t think any team can reach this stage simply through luck. Therefore, my team-mates and I will not underestimate Lyon. Semi-finals, especially in European competitions, are very intense and they always feature good sides. So, no, there won’t be any relaxation from our side. We know it’s going to be a very tough game.

We’ll be up against a very compact unit, sitting quite deep on the pitch too, and it will be up to us to find solutions in order to score as early as possible. We also want to do our best and be as efficient as possible.

On Bayern coach Hans-Dieter Flick

We weren’t really playing very well before and things have improved a lot since he arrived. Have we lost two matches? Three? With the coach? We’ve lost two matches and I don’t think we’ve lost any yet in 2020.

We’re playing well. We’re good in attack and defence. I think he’s brought a new tactical angle. He’s also brought his mindset and that makes all the difference now. We had problems before, and he has been able to fix them since he arrived.