After what was a frustrating end to Lyon’s season with Ligue 1 ending early and falling outside the European spots, they’ll know how important progress is in this one.
They find themselves in the bizarre situation of having played just one competitive game of football since back in early March around five months ago, with that coming against PSG in the Coupe de la Ligue last weekend where they lost on penalties.
Their opponents for this one, Juventus, won their ninth consecutive Serie A title a fortnight ago, although we wouldn’t let that mask the poor form that they’ve been in.
Maurizio Sarri’s charges have gone W6-D4-L4 from their 14 matches over 90 minutes since the return from the enforced break, including three defeats from their most recent four as it seems they have taken their eyes off the ball.
To put that in perspective, they’d lost just three league matches all season before covid hit with a win percentage of 77%, while they’ve since lost four of their 12 matches and won just 50%.
The French outfit may take confidence from Juve’s recent poor form, not to mention they carry in a 1-0 advantage following the first leg.
However, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that teams winning 1-0 at home in the opening leg have gone just W2-D4-L9 in the return fixtures of Champions League knockouts since 2011/12, as six of those losses were by exactly one goal.
Throwing Europa League games into the mix, teams in this situation have lost eight of nine winless matches since the start of 2017/18. To make matters worse, when Lyon visited any of the six teams that finished above them in the shortened season, they lost four of five winless trips, with the only defeat by more than a single goal when PSG beat them 4-2 back in February.
Handicap Draw -1 Goals
For all of the Italian outfits dismal form we can slightly forgive them for their hiccup against Roma in the concluding game of the season. Paulo Fonseca’s men were the form team in the league for the run in, while it’s difficult to ignore the fact that the hosts have won 21 of their 25 matches both domestically and in the Champions League this term at Juventus Stadium, losing only twice.
In fact, they managed to shut their opposition out in six of their last 10 here dating back to February and they look well primed to keep up that impressive home form.
Only Bayern (twice), Real Madrid, Man Utd and Ajax have been able to overcome them in their own backyard in Europe from 63 outings since 2004/05, and we highly doubt a team that has had just one competitive match in five months is going to be up to that task.
We do however think they can take the game to the wire, with one goal separating the sides in 22 of Juve’s 37 such wins in that period, including eight of 12 from the L16 stage onwards.