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Paris v Lyon: the lowdown

Few UEFA's women's club competition ties have been as keenly awaited as Paris Saint-Germain v Olympique Lyonnais. We have the lowdown on both sides.

Paris v Lyon: the lowdown
Paris v Lyon: the lowdown ©UEFA.com

Olympique Lyonnais against Paris Saint-Germain would have been a fitting UEFA Women's Champions League final, so much talent has been gathered by the two French rivals. Instead, on Saturday they will be matched in the capital in the first leg of their last-16 encounter, with the Stade de Gerland return the following Wednesday.

UEFA.com looks at a tie that could well produce the eventual champions in Berlin and hears from three of the key protagonists, including two that have crossed the divide from Lyon to Paris.

Road to the last 16
• While Lyon secured an eighth straight French title last season, Paris only pipped FCF Juvisy Essonne to second place on the final day. Still, in January, Paris won 1-0 at Lyon, who had not lost a home league game since 2006.

• In the round of 32, Lyon beat ACF Brescia 14-0 on aggregate, five of the goals coming from Eugénie Le Sommer. Paris had it tougher, defeating FC Twente 2-1 away and 1-0 at home.

European record
• This is only Paris's third European campaign. Last term they lost in the round of 32 to eventual runners-up Tyresö FF, and in 2011/12 they succumbed in the last 16 to 1. FFC Frankfurt, who were also to finish second – to Lyon.

• That 2012 triumph was Lyon's second in a row. Previously they had overcome 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam, 12 months after losing to them in the final – where they were also subsequently beaten in 2013 by VfL Wolfsburg.

• Last season Potsdam eliminated them in the round of 16 to end Lyon's bid for a fifth straight final; in their debut campaigns of 2007/08 and 2008/09 they got to the semis.

Head to head
• They most recently met on Saturday when both teams were defending a perfect league record. Lyon won 2-1.

• In all, they have played each other 24 times in the last decade, with Lyon winning 19 and Paris just the once last season, plus four draws. The goals record is 48-10.

Key players
• Paris have invested heavily in their women's side since the 2012 appointment as coach of Farid Benstiti, who had masterminded Lyon's rise to prominence before a spell in Russia.

• Among their squad are former Lyon players Kenza Dali, Laura Georges and Shirley Cruz, while their international contingent includes Germans Annike Krahn, Linda Bresonik, Josephine Henning, Fatmire Alushi and Ann-Katrin Berger, Sweden pair Caroline Seger and Kosovare Asllani, Italy's Sara Gama and American forward Linsdey Horan. Another arrival in the last couple of campaigns is the prolific Marie-Laure Delie.

• The core of Lyon's squad has been stable since their initial run of success under Benstiti: Sarah Bouhaddi in goal, Wendie Renard in defence, Amandine Henry, Louisa Nécib, Lara Dickenmann and Camille Abily (out of the Paris game injured) in midfield, and Sweden's Lotta Schelin up front with Élodie Thomis and Eugénie Le Sommer.

• More recent recruits include goalscoring midfielder Élise Bussaglia, Japan defender Sami Kumagai and Norway forward Ada Hegerberg, who hit the winner against Paris last Saturday.

• Patrice Lair, who replaced Benstiti in 2010 and lifted the European title in his first two seasons, stepped down as coach in the summer to be succeeded by former Clairefontaine chief Gérard Prêcheur. In his first ten games in charge Lyon have won them all, scoring 61 goals with just two in reply.

Lindsey Horan on Paris-Lyon

They say
Laura Georges, Paris defender

It's a bit of a shame to face Lyon now, but if you want to go all the way in the competition you have to face big teams – that's just starting a little earlier than usual. Our goal is to go all the way, the same as it is for Lyon. We want to go as far as possible in every competition, especially the Champions League.

I hope we have the qualities to beat them. It's always special to face Lyon. I try to think about playing against them as I would any other match. I tell myself it will be tough, but I don't look to see who I'll be coming up against.

There's a rivalry because PSG have invested a lot and obviously want to dethrone Lyon. It's a rivalry between two clubs who invest in women's football. As for the players, we don't look to see who we're playing against. We don't say 'this or that player is a rival' – we just want to win to go further and it happens to be against Lyon, our big rivals.

I know that Lyon are more effective than us at the moment, but we'll have a chance. We'll just need to be disciplined, very focused and stick to our task.

Farid Benstiti, Paris coach
Lyon have played something like 60 European games since I was there, and 80% of the Lyon team have all played around 50 European games together. We've only played four together and that's significant. When we play Lyon, every player will have to draw on her own individual experience to help the team.

In terms of individuals, we have players with a huge number of international caps and who've won very big titles, and we'll have to take advantage of their personal experience to serve the cause of the team. That's essential and that's what I'll work on.

Schelin on round of 32

Lotta Schelin, Lyon forward
It's going to be up to tactics and this kind of thing because when you play against a really good team three times in a row, it's going to be very tactical and we'll see how it's going to be. We've got our goal set up really high and hopefully we will be able to focus on the game.

It is a little bit weird because you don't normally play against a team from your own country so soon so it's kind of sad, but we have to win all of our games if we want to get to the final, no matter who we play against, so if we're going to have to play Paris Saint-Germain, we're going to have to play them – but it's going to be tough.