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Sea of red and blue

Lyon look to Twelfth Man for inspiration

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It was still quiet in Lyon on Monday, but on Tuesday, when Bayern face Olympique, the city will be a sea of red and blue. Every conceivable surface, from municipal buses to the Town Hall, will be draped in Olympique Lyonnais flags handed out by the club. Backed by their home faithful and the entire city, Les Gones (“The Lads”) are seeking a historic first-ever appearance in the Champions League final.

“We saw what Munich did in the first leg,” said Claude Puel, recalling the extraordinary montage in red and white and raucous support supplied by the Bayern fans at the Allianz Arena last week. “The Twelfth Man isn’t an empty phrase. The crowd’s support is an important factor,” the OL boss stated.

Cris and Boumsong set to play

“We have to win, spark a fire, inspire the fans to support us from the first minute to the last,” keeper Hugo Lloris told sports journal L’Équipe. A 43,051 crowd will pack the Stade de Gerland to capacity, determined to help their heroes overturn the 1-0 deficit from the first leg. “We need to unsettle Bayern and win our tackles,” continued Lloris.

The main man for the big challenges is Cris, who has shaken off a knee injury sustained in the first leg and looks likely to play. “I’m feeling good and I’m fired up. I don’t think it’ll be a problem,” he said on the eve of the match. His regular partner at centre-back, Jean-Alain Boumsong, is also set to return from injury. The only confirmed absentees are Jérémy Toulalan (suspended) and injured defender Mathieu Bodmer.