French giants LOSC Lille paid the price for the missed penalty in Denmark as they were beaten 1-0 by their less illustrious opponents, meaning les Dogues are now under pressure in their second ever game at new Grand Stade Lille Metropole. Carrying a one-goal advantage from the first leg, FC Copenhagen can sit back and wait for their chance, but it remains to be seen if they can survive an onslaught from their opponents.
Slow start to the season
Ever since talented coach Rudi Garcia arrived to the club LOSC Lille have been on the constant uptrend and they are now rightly considered one of the best sides in France. Les Dogues have earned an excellent reputation for their attack-minded style of play, although they have experience some problems at the start of the new season. The club management could do nothing to prevent Eden Hazard from leaving the club to join Chelsea, but they did sign some excellent players this summer, such as Salomon Kalou, Marvin Martin and Salomon Kalou. Three games into the new Ligue 1 campaign and Lille are still unbeaten, but les Dogues did suffer one defeat this term, having lost the Champions League play-off game to FC Copenhagen. Les Dogues proved their worth by dominating the proceedings and creating several very good chances, but after Dimitri Payet missed a penalty after 15 minutes, they were punished for their profligacy and ended up losing the match 1-0. Given that boss Rudi Garcia rested most of his starters at the weekend and that Lille now return to their Grand Stade Metropolle, the French side can be trusted to overturn the deficit and make it to the Champions League group stages.
Rudi Garcia should have important defender Marko Basa back to the side, but Salomon Kalou and Matheiu Debuchy all face fitness tests.
Great result for FC Copenhagen
FC Copenhagen may have been the dominant force in Denmark over the last decade, but they were beaten to the league title by surprise package Nordsjaelland last term. To make matters worse, key players Dame N’Doye and Mathias Zanka Jorgensen both left the club this summer, with Bayer Leverkusen youngster Nicolai Jorgensen the only notable arrival. That didn’t stop FCK from enjoying a great start to the season that saw them win five of first seven league games as well as beat Club Brugge to the place in the Champions League play-offs. Ariel Jacobs’ side somewhat struggled to match Lille in the first leg last week, but they took advantage of their opponents’ mistakes to record a valuable 1-0 victory. However, having been outplayed by les Dogues at home, FC Kopenhagen cannot be expected to fare any better in the return leg, and I am afraid the 1-0 victory will not prove enough for a place in the next stage.
With no fresh injury problems to report, boss Ariel Jacobs is likely to field the same line-up to that which started the first leg.
The first match showed who is the boss here and after Lille missed their chance to create an advantage in Denmark, they will be very motivated to make things right in the return leg. Boasting one of the best squads in French top flight and with 50,000 fans behind them, it is no wonder online bookmakers see Lille as odds-on favourites to make it to the next stage.
Our prediction: Lille to qualify
Odds: 1.85 (17/20)