Fekir to return for Lyon against Bordeaux
By I. Holyman
Nabil Fekir could make his first Ligue 1 Conforama appearance for nearly a month when Olympique Lyonnais take on struggling Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday.
Olympique Lyonnais - Girondins de Bordeaux
With third-placed Montpellier Hérault SC not playing at home to Olympique de Marseille until Sunday evening, Lyon will move onto the top-flight podium if they beat Bordeaux, and the return of their captain is a major boost in their bid to do that.
Fekir returned to full training on Tuesday raising the prospect he will play his first competitive football this weekend since he limped out of the 5-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in Week 9 with a twisted ankle.
That loss in the capital is Lyon's only defeat in their last ten competitive fixtures, though it took a good individual display from goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and a match-turning cameo from Memphis Depay to earn the seven-time French champions all three points at Angers last weekend.
WATCH: Lyon control Angers...just
"Anthony made some important saves and kept us in the match," said coach Bruno Genesio. "In the second half, we showed a better face with more movement, more coherent — Memphis coming off the bench had a lot to do with that — and that allowed us to make the difference at the end of the game even if we conceded that goal at the end."
Depay teed up Hossem Aouar to break the deadlock after a testing hour's play at the Stade Raymond Kopa against a stubborn ten-man Angers side, and the Netherlands international then struck the decisive second goal, three minutes from time, and just before the hosts pulled one back to set up a nervy finish.
Depay on the bench?
With a UEFA Champions League game against Hoffenheim next week and Fekir returning, Depay could again find himself on the bench where he is likely to be joined by striker Maxwel Cornet, who has also recovered from an ankle problem.
Defender Leo Dubois, who suffered a muscle strain in the Week 10 win over Nîmes Olympique, is sidelined as Lyon seek to improve on a poor recent home record against Bordeaux.
Les Girondins have lost just once in their last visits to Lyon, and snatched a dramatic draw with two late goals in a 3-3 thriller last term. Those strikes are two more than they have managed in their last two league outings this season with Eric Bedouet's side slumping to four losses in their last five competitive games.
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Defenders Igor Lewczuk and Youssouf Sabaly are both sidelined while the game comes too soon for striker Alexandre Mendy, who is set to feature for the club's reserve team in his first competitive football since suffering a serious injury in December 2017.
Despite the problems piling up ahead of Thursday's UEFA Europa League tie with Zenit St. Petersburg, Bedouet is determined his team will put on a bullish show at the Groupama Stadium.
"We have to take a step up, say to ourselves that we have to produce a perfect performance against Lyon, we're capable of doing that," he explained.
"If we really play a perfect match, we'll at least get a draw. But we have to try our luck, not go there as victims, we're going to try something. They concede goals, but they're a good team, they score a lot. They're capable of scoring at any time, they have some very very top-level players, who are able to do very good things."
Lyon: Lopes – Rafael, Denayer, Marcelo, Mendy – Ndombele, Tousart, Aouar – Fekir – Depay, Dembélé
Bordeaux: Costil – Palencia, Koundé, Pablo, Poundjé – Tchouaméni, Otavio, Sankharé – Kramaoh, Cornelius, Kamano