LYON vs ZENIT
Champions League 2019/20 season
Venue: Groupama Stadium
Date: Tuesday, 17th September, 2019
Kick-off time: 7.55pm EAT
Group G of the Champions League gets underway on Tuesday night when Lyon host Zenit St Petersburg at the Groupama Stadium.
Now under the stewardship of former Arsenal and Barcelona man Sylvinho, Lyon reached the last 16 of the competition in 2018-19, while Zenit are gracing this stage for the first time since 2015-16.
The Ligue 1 outfit drew their next five group games including an admirable 2-2 result at home to Man City before also holding Barcelona in the first leg of their last-16 clash, although they lost at the Camp Nou to end their run.
Key players such as captain Nabil Fekir, Ferland Mendy and Tanguy Ndombele among 13 to left the club during the transfer window – not to mention the departure of head coach Bruno Genesio.
For Zenit it is a relatively kind return to Champions League action following a three-year absence, with Benfica and RB Leipzig being drawn alongside them in Group G. The Russian outfit were seeded in pot one for this season’s competition, but the three other teams in the group have all had more recent Champions League experience, and Benfica actually knocked them out of the tournament.
Zenit have reached the round-of-16 last season having begun in the third qualifying round where they recovered from a 4-0 defeat in the first leg to record a remarkable 8-1 win after extra time against Dinamo Minsk.
Lyon, have lost just one of their last 14 European home games, although the French outfit are winless in their last three domestic matches whereas Zenit have begun the defence of their title by quickly rising back up to the top of the table.
For all of the summer changes at Lyon, they are still able to call upon the likes of Memphis Depay, Moussa Dembele and Houssem Aouar.
Depay and Dembele in particular have begun the season in fine form, scoring nine goals between them in just five games.
Aouar, returned from a groin injury during Friday night’s 2-2 draw with Amiens and should be fit to feature again in this match.
Depay sat out that game but is expected to return for the visit of Zenit, while former Arsenal man Jeff Reine-Adelaide will face competition from Thiago Mendes for his spot in midfield.
Zenit, are without former Barcelona winger Malcom, who was an unused sub in both legs against Lyon in the round-of-16 last term and is now sidelined with a hip injury until early October.
The visitors are expected to start former Chelsea defensive duo Branislav Ivanovic and Yuri Zhirkov once again, while Artem Dzyuba and Sardar Azmoun will likely lead the line.
Lyon possible starting lineup:
Lopes; Tete, Denayer, Andersen, Dubois; Mendes, Tousart, Aouar; Traore, Dembele, Depay
Zenit possible starting lineup:
Lunev; Smolnikov, Ivanovic, Rakitskiy, Santos; Kuzyaev, Barrios, Ozdoev, Zhirkov; Azmoun, Dzyuba
Lyon form: WWLDD
Zenit form: DWDLWW