Olympique Lyonnais could be without captain Nabil Fekir for their Coupe de France quarter-final clash with SM Caen, but Les Gones' recent exploits leave them overwhelming favourites to win through to the semis…
Wednesday, 27 February 2019
Coupe de France, quarter-finals
Groupama Stadium, Lyon
Olympique Lyonnais - SM Caen - Kick-off at 21:00 CET
Fekir was injured in training last week, missing Sunday's 2-0 loss at AS Monaco as a result, and is a doubt to feature against Caen at the Groupama Stadium on Wednesday night.
OL have been impressive in knock-out competitions this season, though, with and without Fekir. Bruno Génésio's side beat Amiens SC and EA Guingamp to get to this round, but the continent really sat up and took notice when they held Barcelona to a goalless draw in the UEFA Champions League last 16 last Tuesday.
Lionel Messi (l.) and Barcelona were frustrated by Lyon last Tuesday.
Currently third in Ligue 1 Conforama, the Coupe de France nonetheless remains Lyon's best chance of a first piece of silverware since lifting this trophy in 2012, and the coach is set to unleash some players with a point to prove.
"We must qualify for the semi-final," he said at his pre-match press conference. "Our mindset must be that we have the possibility of winning a title. Maxwel [Cornet] and Pape Diop will have a chance to prove themselves, and there's also a case for Kenny Tete."
Although partly a response to the Monaco defeat, Génésio's hand is forced in places. Brazilian left-back Marçal is suspended, while Jérémy Morel - capable of deputising on the left or at central defence, has a stomach injury.
Caen are 15 places behind Lyon in the league with less than half as many points, but with Rolland Courbis joining Fabien Mercadal's coaching staff last Friday, Caen could prove a more difficult proposition.
"We know that Rolland is someone who is very good at mobilising a group around a project," said Génésio. "He'll have advice for the coach, make no mistake. And in one match, anything is possible. Where they are in the league doesn't matter."
Caen, who beat Red Star FC, ES Viry-Châtillon and SC Bastia to set up the meeting with Lyon, will be without suspended top scorer Enzo Crivelli, though.
Lyon: Lopes; Tete, Marcelo, Denayer, Rafael; Tousart, Diop; Cornet, Memphis, Terrier; Dembélé
Caen: Zelazny; Guilbert, Gradit, Baysse, Djiku, Mbengue; Bammou, Fajr, Sankoh, Joseph; Beauvue