PARIS (Reuters) – Olympique Lyonnais will be hoping that the return of talismanic striker Alexandre Lacazette will boost their Champions League campaign when they host Juventus in Group H on Tuesday.
Lyon lost their sixth game in 12 outings in all competitions when they were beaten 2-0 at Ligue 1 leaders Nice on Friday but they started the match without Lacazette, who made his comeback from a five-week injury layoff midway through the second half.
Without the France international, Lyon have failed to score in three of their last four matches.
“We are in a difficult situation, we must get back to work, be strong and get back on our feet,” said keeper Anthony Lopes.
Lyon are third in the group with three points, one point behind leaders Juventus, who geared up for the clash at Parc OL with a 2-1 win against Udinese in Serie A.
Juventus striker Paulo Dybala, who scored both goals on Saturday, said the Lyon trip was the start of a run of fixtures that could have an important bearing on their season.
“Next week will be tough but the whole month ahead of us will be crucial in the context of the season,” he said with Juve set to face Serie A fixtures against AC Milan, Sampdoria and Napoli in quick succession after the Lyon game.
Serie A leaders Juve could be without defender Giorgio Chiellini for Tuesday’s match but coach Massimiliano Allegri is not panicking.
“Chiellini (got) injured (shortly before Udinese) … it shouldn’t be anything serious for him and we’ll see whether he’ll be fit for Lyon,” he said.
With the return of Lacazette, who has scored six goals in four league starts this season, Lyon will play their favoured 3-5-2 formation with Nabil Fekir partnering his fellow France international up front.
Full back Rafael, who is also back from injury, will play on the right flank for Lyon, who could be tired, having played most of the game at Nice with 10 men.
“We need to recover mentally and physically. We were penalised against Nice but also for the Juve game because we played more than an hour with 10 men,” said Lyon coach Bruno Genesio. “It will be a factor.”
Sevilla, who are second in the group behind Juve on goal difference, travel to Dinamo Zagreb, who have lost both their opening encounters.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)