Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) – RSC Anderlecht

Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) – RSC Anderlecht 2:45 PM ET Wednesday August 19, 2009
By Jason Green at Predictem.com

On Wednesday night at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon, Olympique Lyonnais takes on RSC Anderlecht of Belgium in the first leg in the last qualifying games before the group stages begin in the Champions League.

Last year Lyon won France’s Ligue 1 title for the first time in 7 years, as Bordeaux won the title.

Now Lyon has to go through Champions League qualifying to make the group stage. Lyon finished 3rd last season in France and that is not the worst part, as Juninho left the club.

They also lost high scoring forward Karim Benzema selling him off at a high price this summer to Real Madrid. However, even with the loss of the two players Lyon was active in the summer signing Michel Bastos, Lisandro Lopez, Bafetimbi Gomis and Aly Cissokho, so getting back the league title game is a good possibility.

If Lyon does not make the Champions League group stage it will be a huge disappointment for them, as they need the big money that qualifying will bring to cover the transfer fees they spent in the off-season.

Anderlecht is trying to begin this season by qualifying after a disappointing season in the Belgium League losing to Standard in a playoff for the title and losing preliminary Champions League matches against Bate Borisov.

This season Anderlecht is playing well, as they have won their first 3 matches in the Jupiler League and are in 1st place. Boussoufa has dominated the midfield for the Belgium club and Matias Suarez and Tom de Sutter have solidified their attack big-time so far this season.

Lyon is the big home favorite in this match posted at 1.55 with Anderlecht posted at 6.50 and a draw at 4.00.

Lyon Recent Form:

8/15/2009 Lyon 1-0 Valenciennes (Ligue 1)
8/8/2009 Le Mans 2-2 Lyon (Ligue 1)
7/27/2009 Lyon 0-2 FC Porto (Peace Cup)
7/25/2009 Lyon 1-1 Besiktas (Peace Cup)

Anderlecht Recent Form

8/15/2009 Anderlecht 3-0 Westerlo (Jupiler League)
8/8/2009 Anderlecht 3-2 Cercle Brugge (Jupiler League)
8/4/2009 Sivasspor 3-1 Anderlecht (Champions League)
8/1/2009 Kortrijk 0-2 Anderlecht (Jupiler League)
7/28/2009 Anderlecht 5-0 Sivasspor (Champions League)

Lyon’s will miss both Sidney Govou and Francois Clerc for this match, as both are nursing injuries. The Lyon defense may get a boost with the return of Jean Alain Boumsong, who was benched for a while but will probably start in this match.

Anderlecht will be at full strength for this match and forward Nicolas Frutos and attacking midfielder Jonathan Legear will both return for this match after both missed their last match because of various injuries. However, even though the Belgium side is match fit, defenseman Nemanja Rnic will miss this game because of a suspension.

Anderlecht has a young club and many players don’t have the big match experience like Lyon does. It also doesn’t help that they will be playing at Stade de Gerland in Lyon, which is never an easy place for visiting teams to play.

Lyon does have a legit attack, but they need to prove it in this match. In Lyon’s last 4 matches they have only netted a total of 4 goals .

Bafetimbi Gomis is a solid attacking forward that came to Lyon this summer and he will want to prove his worth on the Champions League stage. The Anderlecht defense will have to mark him all match and not allow him space around the box.

Mbark Boussoufa will be counted on to give the visitors some offense as he has played stellar ball in the 3 Jupiler League matches that Anderlecht has played in the young season.

Anderlecht’s Matias Suarez may be in the starting 11 in this match as the young forward has looked good this season.

Even though Lyon is at home and have a slightly better squad, Anderlecht comes into this match with a ton of confidence after winning their first 3 games in league play as well as beating a solid Sivasspor (Turkey) in their last round of group qualifying.

Anderlecht plays a more open style and it has worked for them, as in their last 5 matches they have netted 14 goals. Their midfielders have to control this game for Anderlecht, as if Lyon holds the possession for much of the game, the home team should win.

Jason’s Pick: I see a close game here and I think both clubs will be pressing from the beginning. I think Anderlecht will continue to play well, but for Lyon to barely win this game. I see a score of 2-1 Lyon or a 2-2 draw, as Anderlecht will head back to Belgium for the 2nd leg having scored at least one important away goal.