Lyon vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Tuesday, October 2, 20:00 BST/21:00 CEST – OL Stadium, Lyon, France
The Champions League goes into matchday 2, and Olympique Lyon are in the pole position in Group F after sensationally beating Manchester City on matchday 1. It was perhaps the biggest surprise of matchday 1 that last season’s third-placed Ligue 1 would control a side that dominated the English Premier League last season.
The result highlights that Ligue 1 is somewhat underestimated by international correspondents. Dominated by Paris Saint-Germain, the league, nonetheless, includes competitive sides that thanks to the best youth academy system in Europe produces talents like a factory.
With an average age of 24.1 OL are a typical development side. But Lyon are a development side on a very high level. The likes of Nabil Fekir, Maxwell Cornet, Bertrand Traoré and Nabil Fekir were in high demand on the summer transfer window. Add to that former Celtic star Moussa Dembélé, and you get a mix that going forward can produce significant power.
It is an attacking power that Shakhtar Donetsk want to shut down. Head coach Paulo Fonseca likes to play against sides that want to control the match. It allows his side to sit deep bend, but not break, and attack quickly when winning possession.
That sort of tactical setup caused Shakhtar some issues against Hoffenheim in the first half on matchday 1. Although the Ukrainians are used to control possession when playing in their domestic Ukrainian Premier League, it is a different story in the Champions League.
At the same time, the Hoffenheim game also demonstrated Paulo Fonseca’s ability to make the necessary adjustments. Little tweaks to his midfield in the second half meant that Shakhtar started to control the match rather than relying on quick counter-attacks and Shakhtar were able to walk away with one point against Hoffenheim.
Domestically, Shakhtar have been dominant once again. The Miners have won nine out of ten games this season and demolished Karpaty Lviv 6-1 away from home on the weekend.
It is always a fine line for Shakhtar, who have to find the balance between dominating their domestic competition and playing against teams that are on their level abroad. Lyon showed against City that they are a difficult team to play against, but their attacking style will create room for Shakhtar and perhaps just the opening the Miners need to walk away with three points.
Lyon vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Players to look out for:
Moussa Dembélé #9 – Olympique Lyon
French striker Moussa Dembélé was one of the most sought-after prospects on the transfer market this summer. The 22-year-old striker spent the last two seasons in Scotland with Glasgow based club Celtic. Lack of Champions League football for Celtic, however, meant that the striker wanted to make the next step and, therefore, opted to return to France to play for OL in the Champions League. Dembélé had a decent start to life in Lyon scoring two goals in four Ligue 1 games.
Maycon #27 – Shakhtar Donetsk
Maycon scored the goal of matchday 1 in the UEFA Champions League. The 21-year-old Brazilian was signed from Corinthians this summer and is supposed to help fill the gap left by the departure of his compatriot Fred. Maycon is one of four new Brazilians in the squad and Fonseca has been careful with his integration into the side. Over ten games in the UPL Maycon has played just 377 minutes but was excellent against Karpaty on the weekend. As a result, it can be expected that Maycon will be given another chance against Lyon on Tuesday.
Lyon vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Match Stats
- Lyon are in the group stage for the third time in four seasons – their 2015/16 and 2016/17 campaigns both ended at that hurdle.
- In 2017/18, Lyon made it as far as the UEFA Europa League round of 16 but were denied the chance to appear in the final at their ground as they lost to CSKA Moskva at that stage.
- The 3-2 defeat at home to CSKA ended Lyon’s three-game winning run in their stadium in Europe, and was their first home reverse in ten European contests (W7 D2), since a 1-0 UEFA Champions League group loss to Juventus in October 2016.
- Les Gones have won both their previous home games against Ukrainian visitors 1-0, most recently against Chornomorets Odesa in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League round of 32.
- The French club are unbeaten in their four games against Ukrainian clubs, home and away (W3 D1), scoring five goals without conceding.
- Shakhtar qualified as winners of the Ukrainian league, claiming the title for the 11th time in 2017/18 when they completed a domestic double for the second season in succession.
- Shakhtar lost three of their four away games in last season’s competition, the exception a 2-1 success at Feyenoord on matchday three. They had won their previous five away games – all in the UEFA Europa League – before 2017/18.
- The Ukrainian side have got out of their group in three of their last five participations.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Lyon vs Shakhtar Donetsk – 1-2
Lyon vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Lineups
Lopes – Léo Dubois, Marcelo, Marçal, Morel – Aouar, Cheikh, Fekir – Dembélé, Depay, Traoré
Head Coach: Bruno Génésio
Pyatov – Ismaily, Rakytskyi, Khocholava, Matvienko – Stepanenko, Maycon – Fernando, Taison, Marlos – Júnior Moraes
Head Coach: Paulo Fonseca
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.