Sevilla had a chance to guarantee progress last time out against Juve, but two yellow cards in five minutes from Franco Vazquez while Sevilla were still up 1-0 guaranteed they were chasing the game. They ended up losing 3-1. Now, they must avoid defeat by fewer than two goals to ensure they make it to the knockout rounds. They’re certainly still in control, but it’s closer than it needs to be. Lyon, on the other hand, will need a dominant performance at home. They’ve only scored more than one goal in a match once so far and now will need to win by two and hold off the Andalusian side. Their match over the weekend at Metz was abandoned after a firecracker exploded next to Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes, requiring him to be sent to the hospital suffering from a loss of balance and confusion. In their prior match on Wednesday, they beat bottom-dwellers Nantes 6-0, showcasing a capability to run up the score that they’ll need to repeat.
Lyon will be expected to improve on their dismal display in the Champions League last year, when they finished in dead last in the group in a disastrous start to the season. With star striker Alexandre Lacazette not moving over the summer and the return of young attacking midfielder Nabil Fakir from injury, they have the firepower to do so. Elsewhere the squad remains relatively intact, apart from defender Samuel Umtiti’s move to Barcelona after starting for France at the Euros. They’re the clear favorite to upset PSG’s league dominance and early domestic momentum could translate into a smooth run in the group stage.
For Sevilla, the Champions League has been merely a warm-up for the Europa League trophy they’ve come to own for three years straight (as well as in both 2006 and 2007). Their five Europa League trophies in 11 years have given them more silverware in Europe than Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal. Things aren’t as optimistic as you’d expect, however, after director of football Monchi, the most influential figure in the club’s recent success, was denied a request to quit after suffering from considerable burnout. In addition, they lost their highest scoring player last year, Kevin Gameiro (among four other high profile losses) but Monchi has brought in plenty of reinforcements, including Ben Yedder, who scored 17 in 35 for Toulouse last season. They’ll also begin the season with former Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli taking the helm. With Juve the only big contender in their group, a trip to the Round of 16 is within reach.
Has scored at least 22 goals in each of his last three seasons at Lyon.
Named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year in 2015.