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Lyon relies on the mix between experience and youth to find Europe

With the return of two former members of the house, the reinforcement of an international and – for the moment – ​​the retention of its star player, Olympique Lyonnais is openly aiming for a place in the top 3 at the end of the season. Especially since the Gones will have a reduced calendar in 2022-2023, the fault of the absence of European qualification. Peter Bosz’s men are engaged in a year of transition. It remains to ensure that the mix between experienced players and young shoots from the best training center in France is operational.

The objective: to find the Champions League

In light of the chaotic season that OL went through last year, the ambition to reconnect with the C1 at the end of the season may seem too high. Over the whole of the 2021-2022 financial year in Ligue 1, the Lyon club has never been higher than sixth place in the standings. The foundations are laid.

Of course, several elements can explain it, in particular the arrival of a new coach and the emphasis on the Europa League campaign – ended by a humiliation at home in the quarter-finals against West Ham (0-3) . So what would have suddenly changed in the Rhône to hope to replay the queen of European competitions?

Already, Lyon has the advantage in its sleeve of the absence of distraction outside the championship. Without European cups to compete in, the calendar is getting lighter and this can allow us to aim high at the national level. Then, the workforce has not (yet?) been upset. Apart from the departure of Léo Dubois and the return of loans from Tanguy Ndombélé (Tottenham) and Emerson (Chelsea), OL have preserved their achievements. Maxence Caqueret has extended, Lucas Paqueta is still there, Tetê and the nugget Castello Lukeba too…

Even better, Jean-Michel Aulas managed to convince two glorious veterans, Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso, to come back and lend a hand. And more recently, Argentine international Nicolas Tagliafico (40 caps) joined the ranks, as did promising midfielder Johann Lepenant, 19, from Caen.

The “reconquest” operation sold by the Rhone president seems to be underway. With the support of a new majority shareholder at their side, the American John Textor, OL have arguments to put forward this season. But recruitment director Bruno Cheyrou made it clear recently that the balance of the team could still be changed with other departures in August.

The player to watch: Moussa Dembélé, professional goalscorer

The captain of OL last season saw “General” Lacazette arrive with a heartfelt heart to compete with him at the forefront of the attack, even if the Lyon board and Peter Bosz persist in specifying that “the two can evolve together in front”. Still, the striker trained at PSG does not intend to give up so quickly. It would be forgetting that last season, it was he who kept his people afloat in Ligue 1, with 19 achievements on the clock.

Top scorer of the club, as in 2019-2020 (16 units) and in 2018-2019 (15 units), Moussa Dembélé is always the benchmark, the beacon which guides in the night even by storm warning. Under contract until June 2023, the 26-year-old center forward should take advantage of what may be his last season with Lyon to show that, with or without the armband, he will still have to be counted on.

The rookie: Corentin Tolisso, the equation with several unknowns

While the track leading to his friend Lacazette was seriously heating up at the start of the summer, Lyon supporters were joking in half-words anticipating a second return, that of Corentin Tolisso. A few weeks later, the farce was over and the 27-year-old midfielder signed a five-year contract with his training club.

Packed with trophies with Bayern (five championships, a Champions League, two German cups, a club world cup, etc.), the 2018 world champion is at a turning point in his career. His repeated injuries made it a risky operation but at a lower cost for OL. Still, if the native of Tarare regains even a little of the level of play that earned him a transfer with great fanfare to the Bavarian giant in 2017, the Lyon midfield will only be better.

The typical XI

The eleven type of the Olympique Lyonnais team for the 2022-2023 season.  (demivolee.com)

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