Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Can 'fighter' Garcia cut the mustard against Dijon?

Publish on 16/10/2019 at 20:30


Rudi Garcia's first game as Olympique Lyonnais manager could be a testing one, with a resurgent Dijon FCO visiting the Groupama Stadium on Saturday evening.

 Olympique Lyonnais - Dijon FCO 


Lyon begin the day in 14th with just a single point more than Dijon, who still occupy the automatic relegation places despite their recent uptick in form.

Les Gones, who were third last season, have got off to a difficult start in Ligue 1 Conforama this term, a run of six successive games without a win costing Garcia's predecessor Sylvinho his job before the international break.

Ready to turn a corner

Assistant coach Gérald Baticle oversaw a narrow 1-0 Derby du Rhône loss to AS Saint-Etienne before the break, and sporting director Juninho is satisfied that Garcia can get the side back on track following his appointment.

Watch: Highlights of Lyon's 1-0 loss to Saint-Etienne

"I chose Rudi Garcia because he's a fighter who, like us, has the ambition to win titles and succeed on the European stage," he explained. "He's an experienced coach who's already won trophies. Wherever he's been he's had above-average performances and always made the most of what he's had at his disposal.

"During our various interviews, I had a real footballing connection with him. We speak the same language in terms of tactics and style."

Glistening trophy cabinet

Garcia, who won the double of Ligue 1 Conforama and Coupe de France with LOSC in 2011 before taking Olympique de Marseille to the final of the UEFA Europa League in 2018, is likely to line up with a similar 4-2-3-1 as has been used by OL this season, his individual player instructions where the biggest difference to Syvinho will lie.

The 55-year-old us unlikely to be able to call upon club captain Jason Denayer, though. The Belgium centre-back has not trained fully following a foot injury picked up on international duty. He joins forward Maxwell Cornet on the sidelines.

Dijon may not be the most straightforward side for Garcia to begin his tenure against. Les Rouges have been in the relegation zone since Week 2, but back-to-back wins against Stade de Reims and RC Strasbourg Alsace have given them a spring in their step.

Watch: Highlights of Dijon's 1-0 win over Strasbourg

Inside knowledge

Garcia's opposite number on Saturday, Stéphane Jobard, was also his number two at Marseille, and the extra knowledge of his former boss's proclivities could help the Dijon coach.

"We've worked a little bit before, you know," said Jobard of Garcia, barely managing to hide the wink at the end of his statement. "It's a peculiar game. My group is listening to me and beginning to absorb how we want to play."

Dijon also won the last meeting between the clubs 3-1 in April, although Jobard does have significant absences to contend with. Hamza Mendyl and Matheus Pereira are suspended due to an accumulation of bookings, while Mama Baldé (thigh) and Frédéric Sammaritano (calf) are also out.


Possible line-ups

Lyon: Lopes; Rafael, Marcelo, Denayer, Koné; Reine-Adélaïde, Tousart, Aouar; Cornet, Dembélé, Terrier

Dijon: Gomis; Alphonse, Ecuele Manga, Aguerd, Chafik; Ndong, Lautoa; Mavididi, Soumaré, Chouiar, Tavares