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Rudi Garcia’s Olympique Lyonnais faces the ogre of Bayern Munich on Wednesday in the Champions League semi-final. A Franco-German duel that will have an air of revenge, in more than one way.

Will Olympique Lyonnais go for the first time in its history in the Champions League final ? On his way stands a big obstacle, Bayern Munich, big favorite of the competition. Not enough to scare the Memphis Depay gang, who have already tripped Juventus Turin of Cristiano Ronaldo in eighth and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the quarterfinals.

This second Franco-German semi-final, played Wednesday August 19 after that between RB Leipzig and the PSG won on Tuesday by the latter, is an opposition of styles between the cold German realism who crushed FC Barcelona in the previous round and the romantic epic of Lyon.

The historic Franco-German rivalry

As soon as a French team has to face a German team, the antiphon of revenge returns. Revenge of an evening of 1982 in Seville: when, during the semi-final of the World Cup, the France team was eliminated after the unsanctioned assault of Patrick Battiston by the German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher. A “French trauma”, as the sports press like to remind you of each new clash between the two countries.

A match against a German club would also be an opportunity to ward off the fate of 1976, known as the “Glasgow square posts”. This spring day, the Greens of Saint-Etienne are beaten in the final of the Champions Clubs Cup – ancestor of the Champions League. Listening to the Stéphanois, if the posts had been round, Bathenay’s shot and Santini’s header would have given them victory.

Bayern, executioner of Lyon in 2010

The ace. None of the 22 players facing each other on Wednesday were born around that time and the new generations have moved on. The coaches of the two national teams, Didier Deschamps and Joachim Low, buried the hatchet: “We have a relationship of sporting rivalry, but also a relationship of fraternity,” explains the coach of the world champions.

Rather than seeking motivation in the distant history of relations between the two nations, Rudi Garcia should rather draw on the recent history of the two clubs. Indeed, in 2010, during the only semi-final of the Champions League in its history, it was Bayern Munich who had taken Lyon out of continental competition.

Beaten on the way to Munich 1 to 0, the Lyonnais had completely missed their match at Gerland. The Bavarians were then impressed by their power, their control of the match and especially their realism: the Croatian Ivica Olic had scored a hat-trick in five small shots on target. “OL are a great team and great teams never die,” said Jean-Michel Aulas.

Ten years later, history proves him right since his players have the opportunity to avenge the affront of 2010 and, as against Juventus Turin and Manchester City, to foil the forecasts while the German daily Bild already promises a ” demolition “of OL.

A personal revenge for Rudi Garcia

Mocked, hated, whistled at the announcement of his name in the stadium, Lyon coach Rudi Garcia can already savor his personal revenge after the recent exploits of his players, even if he denies it: “We must give the best of oneself, like everywhere I have been and here in particular. We prefer to be loved and if that is not the case, what matters is to be good with its leaders, its players and his staff. And there, frankly, I’m experiencing a lot of happiness. He is by proxy, the happiness of a coach, “he explained after qualifying against Manchester City.

His appointment in October 2019 to replace the ephemeral Sylvinho when OL was 14e in Ligue 1 had sparked furious reactions from a fringe of supporters igniting the web and social networks. And this even before it is official. An enmity born of Rudi Garcia’s repeated attacks against OL during his Marseille period (2016-2019) and which OL’s results in the league have not helped to appease: at the end of the French season, Lyon pointed to a shy 7e place, depriving the club of European competition for the 2020-2021 financial year except for a miraculous victory in the Champions League.

With his journey to the semi-final, the French technician silences the critics of the supporters who portrayed him as a clown. And agrees with its president, Jean-Michel Aulas, who has always defended it tooth and nail.

“Rudi is a boy who does his job well, we had identified him to straighten out this Olympique Lyonnais who has the means but who did not succeed. He knew how to do it with humility, sometimes with a little difficulty because it was not is not a communicator who will seek recognition a priori, “reacted Jean-Michel Aulas after the victory over City. “He does his job first and makes sure that it allows him to find this recognition. So it’s not a revenge, it’s just the evolution towards what we wanted when we gave him the keys with (the sporting director) Juninho who was decisive. He supported him in difficult times. “

“It is a confirmation for me, and I am very happy for him, because he is a coach who deserves recognition,” he concluded, looking towards the semi-final against Bayern: “We’re going to fall against the favorite of this competition.”

A favorite that has left more than one bad memory to Rudi Garcia in the past. Bayern Munich have never succeeded in coaching French in the Champions League. Four defeats in as many confrontations. In total, his teams scored only two goals, against 16 conceded and two humiliations: a 6-1 in Munich while he was leading Lille and a beating (7-1) cashed at home during his time on the bench. ‘AS Roma. Here too, Rudi Garcia has a revenge to seek.





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