Juventus
    Juventus
      21.03.2014 14:31 - in: Europa League S

      Spotlight on Olympique Lyonnais

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      The French side Juventus are to take on in the quarter-finals are currently fifth in Ligue 1, beat Plzen 5-3 on aggregate to reach this stage and have never met the Bianconeri in European competition before

      Juventus have never previously come up against Olympique Lyonnais - more commonly referred to as Lyon in English - but the French club have been a regular presence in European competition since the turn of the new millennium and have a tradition of producing talented players that continues with the current crop.

      Nicknamed ‘Les Gones’ (‘The Kids’ in local dialect) and based in the Rhone-Alpes region, the club was founded in 1950 and have played ever since at the 43,051-capacity Stade de Gerland, the ground where Antonio Conte’s men will be travelling to for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday 3 April.

      At the start of the new millennium, Lyon began to edge ahead of more historically established clubs Marseille and Paris St. Germain, and they lifted their first domestic league title in 2002; the triumph that began a run of a record seven consecutive first-place finishes.

      They have enjoyed success in European competition in recent years, too, regularly emerging from the group stage of the Champions League and reaching as far as the semi-final of the 2009/10 tournament.

      The club has come to be recognised as a hotbed of talent, with Michael Essien, Karim Benzema, Hugo Lloris, Florent Malouda, Juninho Pernambucano and Eric Abidal amongst the familiar names to have worn the red, blue and white colours.

      And the current side that will face Juventus features some similarly dangerous propositions. Coveted striker Bafetimbi Gomis is their top scorer in the Europa League so far this season with three goals, while Yoann Gourcuff is an established name in midfield and Clement Grenier is an up-and-coming one in the French national team.

      In terms of form going in to the clash, Remi Garde’s men are currently fifth in Ligue 1, a point above Marseille and three below St. Etienne (with whom they contest the Derby du Rhone).

      In the Europa League, meanwhile, they beat Viktoria Plzen 5-3 on aggregate in the last 16 to set up the clash with the Bianconeri.

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