Lyon Get Barcelona in Tough Champions League Draw

Joel LefevreAnalyst IDecember 19, 2008

Olympique Lyonnais have been the class of the Ligue 1 in France. They won their very first League title in 2002 and have not looked back, winning every league title since.  Their play in Europe's top competition, however, has been a whole other story. 

While they have qualified for the second phase of the Champions League this year for a sixth consecutive time, they are yet to show they are even close to the calibre of the elite clubs in Europe. They will have no better chance to prove it than in their next Champions League tie. They have been drawn against the class of Europe this season, Barcelona. 

We will quickly see what Claude Puel's men are made of as Barcelona is absolutely loaded across the board. Samuel Eto leads the way with 15 goals in the Primera Liga this season, followed closely by Lionel Messi with 10 and Frenchmen Thierry Henry with seven, all that has pasted Barcelona to first place in the Primera. 

They are solid on the back end with Puyol and Marquez leading the charge, and very creative in midfield with the likes of Xavi leading the way. 

On paper this looks like a huge mismatch as Lyon have stumbled in the league a little this year with three defeats already, last season they only had seven.

They will be relying heavily on striker Karim Benzema who has been terrific once again this season with 14 goals so far and is rumoured to be off to Barcelona next season.  Juninho will be looked upon to create in midfield while veteran Fabio Grosso will hope to help on the back end. Lyon is short on experience and will need worldclass play from Benzema, Juninho, Govou and co. if they are to have any shot. 

They have made it their mission over the past few seasons to show that they can compete with the best, now they have got to prove it against a team that has been picked to win and is in great form this season. 

These two teams have met four times in the Champions League with Barcelona winning three times and drawing just once. The two will meet at Stade Gerland in France on February 24 or 25, for the first of two legs in this Round of 16 match.

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