FC Bayern München coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has called for an "aggressive" showing against Olympique Lyonnais.
By Marcus Christenson in Munich
FC Bayern München coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has demanded an "aggressive and focused" performance against Olympique Lyonnais in UEFA Champions League Group A on Wednesday night.
Hitzfeld hopes the game against the French champions will enable his side to bounce back from a 2-0 league defeat by FC Schalke 04. The weekend setback provoked Hitzfeld to say his side were "average" at the moment, illustrated by the fact that Bayern currently lie fifth in the Bundesliga, six points behind leaders VfB Stuttgart.
'We know what went wrong'
Hitzfeld expects an improved performance from his players, having seen a late equaliser earn Lyon a 1-1 draw in France a fortnight ago. "We have obviously thought about what went wrong against Schalke and we have to make sure that we don't repeat those mistakes," the Bayern coach said. "But the Champions League is very different to the league and we feel fresh."
All to play for
Bayern are top of Group A with five points, but RSC Anderlecht and Lyon are both just one behind. In the tightest of the eight sections, even the bottom side Celtic FC, with three points, have a realistic chance of qualifying, underlining why Hitzfeld is eager for success against the French champions. He said: "
Lyon have a very good team and we have to be very aggressive and focused and not let them counterattack."
Sebastian Deisler has been in scintillating form recently but is likely to be missing with a thigh injury sustained against Schalke, while Owen Hargreaves, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Alexander Zickler are also unavailable. The good news for Hitzfeld is that full-backs Willy Sagnol and Tobias Rau have overcome knocks.
The game also marks the return of Lyon's former Bayern striker Giovane Elber, who played for the Bavarian side from 1997, winning the 2001 Champions League before moving to France in the summer. "I am really looking forward to going back to Munich," he said. "I had hoped that we would beat Bayern at home but that didn't happen as it finished 1-1 and now we will have to be satisfied with a point in Munich."
Elber scored as Lyon defeated OGC Nice 5-0 at the weekend, but coach Paul Le Guen was dismayed to watch three of his key players - Edmilson, Péguy Luyindula and Sidney Govou - limp off. The first two are expected to recover but Govou's ankle problem will almost certainly rule him out along with defender Eric Deflandre, who has a thigh injury.
'Confident and vigilant'
"We come here with the ambition that we should have," Le Guen said. "We need the points and know that we're playing against the group favourites. It's important to be confident, but we've also got to be vigilant."
'Great attacking potential'
The Lyon coach singled out goalkeeper Grégory Coupet as key to his side's chances and the French international is in determined mood, saying : "
We're developing as a team and consolidating defensively and I think our attack shows great potential. We are strong in defence, but we won't be coming here to sit back."