Lyon were in eighth place in the French league although had won the Coupe de la Ligue to guarantee Europa League football next year. It was fortunate for Lyon as they looked unlikely to get into Europe through the league and there only hope of Champions League football was to win the Europa League so they had all the motivation to go out and do well.
Since the draw Lyon had found some form winning two league games and the Coupe de la Ligue final which would be a huge help to the morale of the squad which was strong on paper although hadn’t shown it throughout the league campaign with some very inconsistent form.
Lacazette up front would clearly be the biggest threat that the Brugge defence would have to deal with and the France international was a frequent scorer and would have to be closely watched by the defence to ensure that he didn’t get some goals that would make the tie far harder for Brugge. At the other end Umtiti, who was heavily linked to Barcelona, was the defensive threat that whoever Alex picked up front, likely Luciano, would have to contend with and also be testing when he had the ball as he would a good passer with the ball as well.
Alex and everyone else in the team took a short flight into Lyon, far shorter than Alex had thought it would be, and the weather was also far colder than Alex expected being only a few degrees above freezing.
Everyone hurried into the terminal to grab luggage and get onto the bus to get to the hotel which was on Lake le Grand and very close to the stadium in the outskirts of Lyon. It was a nice enough hotel and everyone got settled in with Engels declaring that he wanted to go and swim in the lake despite the weather and him having no idea of the temperature of the water.
No one wanted to miss it so the entire team and staff headed to the lake, Alex had snuck away from the group to see what the temperature of the lake would be and was told it would be a decent bit above freezing but, definitely cold. It was a very short walk to the lake and it was fed by the rather cold Rhone and everyone was looking forward to seeing if Engels could live up to his bold claims.
He did with some casual looking swimming betrayed after with some teeth chattering and shivering. If he was ill for the game Alex would be very annoyed as the last thing he needed as his first choice defender missing a big game due to a stupid bold claim.
Fortunately, Engles warmed up quickly back at the hotel and looked fine as the team went to the stadium for pre-match practice. Lacazette would be possibly the best striker that Brugge had faced all season so Alex had Philippe drilling the defence and Ribeiro making runs similar to those of Lacazette so that the defenders could be as well prepared for the game as possible.
With everyone done the team headed back to the hotel. Some of the team watched the Champions League games with the rest in their rooms. Alex was pleased to see that everyone was in their rooms at a decent hour and he didn’t have to chase anyone to bed as they all knew how big a game it was.