French champions Olympique Lyonnais are hoping for a change of fortune against a confident RSC Anderlecht.
Olympique Lyonnais coach Paul Le Guen is hoping that their UEFA Champions League meeting with a rampant RSC Anderlecht side will spark some much-needed life into his team’s season.
The French champions are languishing in mid-table in Ligue 1 without a win in their last three games, but Le Guen is banking on the commitment that he demands from his players on Europe's biggest stage to blow away the early-season cobwebs.
Lyon are determined to dispel memories of last year's Champions League, when they went out in the first group stage after finishing third in their group behind Internazionale FC and AFC Ajax. "We are aware this match will be all the more important for us, as our defeat in the first round last year left us with a bitter taste," Le Guen said.
'Not ideal situation'
"We will try our best during this round of six matches, starting with Anderlecht, even if we are not in the ideal situation after failing to win any of our last three matches. After winning our second consecutive league title, it is vital to refind our energies and our true level.
We want to do better than last year, we know that our fans expect a lot from us."
Le Guen's squad is almost at full strength and the only doubt concerns Brazilian midfield player Juninho, who picked up a calf injury during the draw with AJ Auxerre at the weekend. Claudio Caçapa is still out with a thigh problem and Christophe Delmotte is nursing a heel injury.
UEFA Cup winners
Although Anderlecht won the UEFA Cup in 1983 and performed brilliantly in the 2000/01 edition of the Champions League, they have never beaten a French side in this tournament. Coach Hugo Broos, however, is sure to invoke memories of that great Champions league run when, spearheaded by Jan Koller and Tomasz Radzinski, they topped their first-stage group ahead of Manchester United FC, PSV Eindhoven and FC Dynamo Kyiv.
'Everything going well'
They will also be brimming with confidence after the 6-0 thrashing of KSC Lokeren OV in the Belgian top flight at the weekend. "For 15 minutes, we had to hold back a very motivated Lokeren but once we went two up, it became easy," said Broos. "
Everything is going well at the moment, we are scoring a lot and giving almost nothing away. The substitutes are also doing well when they come on.
Doll faces a scan
"It is now time for a different, more difficult challenge and Lyon on Wednesday will be that challenge. I'm really looking forward to this first Champions League match." Defender Olivier Doll is Anderlecht's only doubt after picking up a knee injury against Lokeren. He is to have a scan and Michal Zewlakow is his likely replacement.