MX23RW : Thursday, September 19 00:16:07| >> :600:287254:287254:
Sep 17, 2019 at 5.55pm UK at ​Stade de Gerland
Attendance: 47,201
ZenitZenit St Petersburg
Depay (50' pen.)
FT(HT: 0-1)
Azmoun (41')

Preview: Lyon vs. Zenit St Petersburg - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Champions League Group G showdown between Lyon and Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg, including predictions and possible team news.

A seemingly wide-open 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.

Match preview

Lyon coach Sylvinho gets a bit excitable on July 28, 2019© Reuters

Lyon won plenty of admirers during the group stages of last season's competition - not least when they sent shockwaves around Europe with a 2-1 triumph away to Manchester City on matchday one.

The shock result against a side many tipped as favourites to lift the trophy proved to be comfortably the high point of their campaign, though, and they are winless in six Champions League outings since.

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 were swept aside at the Camp Nou to end their run.

A summer of change has followed at the Groupama Stadium, with key players such as captain Nabil Fekir, Ferland Mendy and Tanguy Ndombele among 13 to leave the club during the transfer window - not to mention the departure of head coach Bruno Genesio.

There will be plenty of intrigue surrounding how they perform this time around, then, and they will have been pleased to avoid any of the genuine European heavyweights in the draw.

Zenit St Petersburg head coach Sergei Semak pictured in April 2019© Reuters

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 on their most recent taste of it.

Zenit have had to settle for Europa League football since then, reaching 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.

The odds of similar drama in their opening European outing of this season are slim, and the visitors may even be content with a draw having failed to win any of their last nine continental games away from home - a run which includes seven defeats and stretches back to 2017.

Lyon, meanwhile, 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.

Lyon form: WWLDD

Zenit form: DWDLWW

Team News

Olympique Lyonnais' Memphis Depay celebrates scoring their third goal on August 16, 2019© Reuters

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, meanwhile, 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, meanwhile, will be 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

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We say: Lyon 2-0 Zenit

In what could turn out to be a very tight group it may be the home records which make the difference. Lyon drew all of their home group games 2-2 last season, but we are backing them to have enough to pick up all three points this time around, particularly considering Zenit's away woes in Europe.

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Who will win Tuesday's Champions League clash between Lyon and Zenit St Petersburg?

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Moussa Dembele celebrates scoring for Lyon on July 28, 2019
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