UEFA Champions League Semi-Final: Bayern v Lyon – 1st Leg Preview and PredictionsBy: The Offside | April 21st, 2010
Well, those typical Germans are here again, against the typical French in a typical Champions League semifinal first leg in an atypical arena. In fact, let’s venture off the mandated course for a second here:
Is the Allianz Arena the most spectacularly photogenic stadium in the world? It must be – at least from the outer walls – though I do hold out high hopes from the impending face lift of the Camp Nou.
Anyway, back to the game…but wait! Distractions, on either side. You may have heard there are current legal rumblings in Paris regarding underaged prostitution and the purchase of said prostitutes by a member or members of Les Bleus. Four names have surfaced as “witnesses” only, including Franck Ribery of Bayern and Sidney Govou of Lyon. (Karim Benzema & Hatem Ben-Arfa the others.) Even if entirely innocent, they’re human and thus likely distracted, which could lead to the suffering of their football.
There’s not much point in arguing that Bayern would get the shorter end of that stick.
But they do have Robben, who’s looking all kinds of Batman lately, fresh off another wondergoal against Manchester United and a “hey, look at me!” hat-trick in the 7-0 against Hannover on the weekend. Chances are the only distraction he might suffer is buckling under the weight of his own current form.
Lyon, meanwhile, might be in a bit of trouble as they’re likely to gameplan for Bordeaux all over again. Thrice in the last three weeks – three in their last five – they’ve played Bordeaux, so they may be marking Ivica Olic as though he were Marouane Chamakh. For this, you’ll have to forgive them.
Though they weren’t forced to nap through the 14h trek Barcelona took to Milan, Lyon had quite the drive themselves. In mini vans.
Lyon, playing their first ever Champions League semi, had to borrow 10 mini vans from their academy to travel to Munich as their flight plans were scuppered by the cloud of ash spewing out of an Icelandic volcano and drifting across Europe.
They were on their way to Stuttgart on Monday, spending the night there and then driving on to Munich on Tuesday morning.
Google Maps tells us this trip takes roughly 8 hours, with the night in Stuttgart costing them roughly one hour. It also tells us they fell victim to four toll roads. Hopefully Iceland will reimburse them.
Fourteen hours on a coach or eight hours in youth team mini vans? Both have significant drawbacks; both could be considered the greater disadvantage. But what are the academy kids supposed to do? Who’s thinking about the children!
It’s arguably a rather even matchup, but you’ve got to think the slight advantage goes to the team which didn’t travel eight hours through four toll roads in kiddie seats. And the team with
Bayern: Holger Badstuber, Mark van Bommel
Lyon: None, but seven sit on a yellow.
Prediction: I like history. History is good. Lyon like history too, as they proved in the first kayo round. They won’t like this history. 2-1 Bayern (with a 3-2 loss in the second leg into the final).
Mark van Bommel will still – somehow – earn a yellow in the 18th, despite being in the stands.
Because really, predicting van Bommel cards are as close to a sure thing as you’re going to get.
Bayern v Lyon