Why Lyon face an almost impossible task at Barcelona
It is 35 years since Metz became the only French team to win at Camp Nou as Bruno Genesio’s side seek a place in the Champions League quarter-finals
Lyon travel to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday night with a seemingly impossible task ahead of them. They need to become only the second French team to win at Camp Nou, 35 years after FC Metz defeated the Spanish giants.
Metz are the only French side to beat Barcelona at their home ground in the first round of the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup in 1984.
Since then, Barcelona have been infallible when coming up against French sides at home, most famously beating Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 in the Champions League in 2017 to complete an unbelievable turnaround after losing the first leg 4-0.
Goal recently caught up with Philippe Hinschberger, who was a key member of the Metz squad that famously beat Barcelona all those years ago. Hinschberger believes Lyon, who held Barcelona 0-0 at home in the first leg, have a great chance of breaking the hoodoo surrounding French clubs travelling to Catalunya.
“They can do it,” Hinschberger told Goal.
“There are some very talented players at Lyon, Fekir was not there in the first leg,
“Barcelona will logically dominate, but when they want to this Lyon team are capable of great things, they have a real chance, they will have to be solid at the back, but it’s a team that can score anywhere, anytime and against anyone.
“In the meantime, the magic will have to work, just like what happened for FC Metz 35 years ago. A resounding feat.”
Hinschberger faced the same task in 1984 and he also believed that it was an impossible feat to beat one of the world’s greatest teams in their own stadium.
“It was unlikely, we can play the game 10 times and we would be eliminated 10 times,” he said.
“We had a coach, Marcel Husson, who was a great man.
“Then we had a great team with Bocande, Kurbos, Jean-Paul Bernad, Jean-Philippe Rohr, Bracigliano and so on, we had prepared ourselves even if we had never imagined we would qualify.”
Lyon are in a much stronger position than Metz were 35 years ago. Metz had lost the first leg 4-2 and needed to win by at least two goals to stand a chance of qualifying whilst Lyon come into this one off the back of a goalless draw in the reverse fixture. Hinschberger said that the first-leg result spurred his team on to turn things around in the second leg.
He added: “We were very upset, they took us for ‘fools’, as they said, and we wanted to show that we were better than that,”
Metz completed the most unlikely of comebacks, winning 4-1 with a hat-trick from Zvonko Kurbos carrying them over the line, and Lyon will have to emulate that famous team if they are to progress to the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League.
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