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Ol. Lyon and Bordeaux Desperate For Europa Points

After wrestling to a draw in Ligue 1 on Sunday, Olympique Lyonnais and Girondins de Bordeaux are hoping to bounce back with maiden Europa League wins of the season against Rijeka and APOEL respectively.

Thursday, 24.10.2013, UEFA Europa League Group I, Matchday 3

Olympique Lyonnais - HNK Rijeka

Lyon will look to put their recent malaise behind them when they welcome Croatian side Rijeka to the Stade Gerland in the Europa League on Thursday. Remi Garde's side have picked up just one victory in their last 12 matches. Draws against Real Betis and Vitória Guimarães so far in Group I mean OL remain on course to qualify for the knockout stages though, and the coach is refusing to panic.

"This is a tough predicament, but on the whole, I can't fault my players. We're making do with the resources we have available. Our squad don't have much experience. We are asking a lot of them and I can understand that the bar is a bit high," said Garde, who is yet to sign an extension to his contract which is in its final year. "The club is in a tough situation at the moment but we try to put that behind us when we take the field."

The return from injury of Portuguese defender Miguel Lopes is welcome news for Garde, who is without Samuel Umtiti, Bakary Koné and Henri Bedimo, though midfielders Gaël Danic (ankle) and Yoann Gourcuff (thigh) are out.

Lyon are searching for a first win since September and it doesn't figure to let up for Les Gones anytime soon, with a trip to title-chasing AS Monaco just three days after the Rijeka clash. Garde said: "We just need to assume our responsibilities, all of us. There's not much else to say. We need to lift our heads."

Probable teams:

Lyon: A.Lopes; M.Lopes (or Zeffane), Bisevac, Gonalons, M.Dabo; Malbranque (or Mvuemba), G.Fofana, Grenier; Briand, B.Gomis, Lacazette

Rijeka: Vargic; Boras, Datkovic, Knezevic, Bertosa; Males, Brezovec, Pokrivac, Kvrzic; Kramaric, Benko


Girondins de Bordeaux - APOEL

Bordeaux are yet to earn a point in Group F, having opened their campaign with a 3-0 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt before surrendering the lead in the 2-1 loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Stade Chaban-Delmas last time out. Francis Gillot's team are hoping for better in front of their home fans on Thursday when they face Cypriot opposition for the first time in the shape of APOEL.

Gillot said Les Girondins simply cannot afford a slip up: "If we do not win tomorrow, it will be very difficult to qualify. Victory is mandatory. If we succeed, we will have three matches left to confirm out place in this competition."

Bordeaux are definitely without Mariano, Nicolas Maurice-Belay and André Poko, while Brazilian attacker Jussiê is also a doubt. With games against Montpellier-Hérault and OGC Nice following in quick succession, Gillot is grateful for the fitness of his squad: "We have three games to play in a week, that will be tough, but then there's a week off after the Montpellier match. We have players that are capable of playing three games in 8 or 10 days."

No Cypriot team has ever won in France. Bordeaux need to maintain that record to have any chance of progressing.

Probable teams:

Bordeaux: Carrasso; Chalmé (or Faubert), Henrique, Bréchet, Poundjé; Sertic, Ab.Traoré; Rolan, Obraniak, Saivet; C.Diabaté (or Sacko)

APOEL: Pardo; Sergio, Oliveira, Joao Guilherme (or Borda), Cabral; Manduca, Morais, Vinicius, Alneftis; Benachour, Esmaël Gonçalves (or Budimir)


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