Olympique Lyonnais vs. Real Madrid Soccer Match Preview and Pick

Olympique Lyonnais vs. Real Madrid Stade Gerland, Lyon France 2:45 PM EST Tuesday February 16, 2010
by Jason Green of Predictem.com

Match Odds: Real Madrid 2.00 / Lyon 3.55 Draw 3.25
Mondayline: Real Madrid - Even Lyon +250 Draw +235
Over/Under: 2.5 goals

On Tuesday night in Lyon Olympique Lyonnais hosts Real Madrid in the first leg of the knockout phase of the Champions League. Lyon has not played great in their French domestic league, as there are currently in 4th place and trail Bordeaux by 8 points. They have also been beat on both of their domestic cup competitions, but they can save their season with a solid showing in the Champions League.

Lyon has a solid scoring offense, but they have only mustered 4 goals in their last 5 matches. Lyon may not have the stacked lineup that Real Madrid does, but they have won their last 2 home matches in Champions League play against the Spanish giants.

Real Madrid are right in the heels of defending Champions League winners Barcelona in Spain’s La Liga only trailing them by 2 points. Everyone knows about the tons of cash that Real Madrid spent in the off-season on players such as Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo, but unless the win La Liga and get far in the Champions League competition the season will be a disappointment.

Even though Real lost to weak Alcorcon in Copa del Rey and lost at home to AC Milan in the Champions League they have been playing well as of late winning their last 4 La Liga matches and they have scored 11 goals in those matches.

Lyon will have their hands full against the solid Real offense, but can they keep their home dominance over them in tact in the knockout phase of the Champions League?

Lyon Recent Form:
2/13/2010 Lyon 1 Racing Club de Lens 0 (Ligue 1)
2/7/2010 Toulouse 0 Lyon 0 (Ligue 1)
1/31/2010 Lyon 2 Paris Saint Germain (Ligue 1)
1/27/2010 Lorient 1 Lyon 0 (Coupe de la Ligue)
1/24/2010 Monaco 2 Lyon 1 (Coupe de France)

Real Madrid Recent Form:
2/13/2010 Xerez 0 Real Madrid 3 (La Liga)
2/6/2010 Real Madrid 3 Espanyol 0 (La Liga)
1/31/2010 Deportivo La Coruna 1 Real Madrid 3 (La Liga)
1/24/2010 Real Madrid 2 Malaga 0 (La Liga)
1/16/2010 Athletic Bilboa 1 Real Madrid 0 (La Liga)

For Lyon Anthony Reveillere may miss the match due to an illness and Francois Clerc, Mathieu Bodmer and Cleber Anderson will all be out due to injuries. However, none of these players are generally in the starting 11 so Lyon will have their big guns ready for this match.

For Real Madrid ex-Lyon striker Karim Benzema is match fir and that is big since Lyon is his hometown. The injured players for Real that will probably not play in this match are Jerzy Dudek, Christoph Metzelder, Guti, Rafael van der Vaart and Pepe.

The anchor of the Lyon defense is the duo of Cris and Jean-Alain Boumsong and they have not played well this season. They will have trouble keeping the many scorers for Real from finding the back of the net, so do not expect a clean sheet for Lyon in this match.

Look for the Lyon defense to play a physical match and, many times, there are O/U odds posted for yellow cards and the Over is a good pick in this game, as the French side will challenge the Los Blancos’ forwards early and often.

The Lyon defense will key on Ronaldo, Benzima, who may not start, and Kaka in this match, which mean that French born striker Gonzalo Higuain, who has been legit this season, will get open looks and I think he will score in this match.

Higuain leads Real Madrid with 12 goals this season and he will add to that total in this match.

Jason’s Pick: Lyon had had Real’s number at home in the last couple of matches in France, but they simply do not have the defense to keep up with Madrid. Look for Real Madrid to come out firing from the start of the match and score at least two goals while the home side will get one at most. Real Madrid will win this match and I see a score of 2-1 or 3-1, so the Over 2.5 goal total is also a solid wager.