With demonstrative confidence and the usual understatement, the “bulls” set off for Lille on Monday. “We’re going to Lille with a big heart and of course we want to annoy them again. We’re in good spirits and well prepared,” said coach Matthias Jaissle at Salzburg Airport. He emphasized that he does not like to talk about match points and instead warned of a “top team” with “incredible quality”. “We must be careful.”
Salzburg showed that the current twelfth place in Ligue 1 can be beaten with a 2-1 home win. Jaissle’s squad is unchanged, even the same starting line-up as in the first Group G clash at the end of September seems likely. There was a question mark behind the use of attacker Noah Okafor, who is suffering from a hardened thigh. On Tuesday evening it was ultimately clear that the Swiss would not be enough – he is not in the squad either.
Salzburg wants to fix promotion in Lille
Champion Salzburg traveled to Lille for the Champions League game on Monday. Despite being in the lead in the table before the last two games, an international exit is still possible.
Salzburg with victory in knockout phase
The match in northern France has the potential to be a historic event. With a win, Salzburg would move into the knockout round of the premier class for the first time in club history. Even a draw would be enough if Sevilla didn’t win at home against Wolfsburg at the same time. Of the Austrian clubs, only Sturm Graz has managed to climb out of the first group phase. It’s been 21 years now. The 2021 coup would be gilded by an additional 9.6 million euros distributed by the European Football Association (UEFA) for the round of 16 qualification.
Group G, fifth day of play
Tuesday, 9 p.m.:
Pierre Mauroy Stadium, SR Taylor (ENG)
Small: Grbic – Celik, Fonte, Djalo, Reinildo – Weah, Renato Sanches, Xeka, Bamba – Yilmaz, David
Salzburg: Köhn – Kristensen, Onguene, Wöber, Ulmer – Sucic, Camara, Aaronson, Seiwald – Sesko, Adeyemi
Okafor said the team would like to settle things as early as Tuesday. “We’ve actually decided to always watch from game to game,” said the Swiss, but admitted: “The table is always a bit in the back of our minds.” After three games with seven points already fantastically on course, it could still be close will. The 1: 2 in the last group game in Wolfsburg was a first small damper.
“Able to annoy any opponent”
Salzburg also acted in the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win against Austria Vienna and a 0-0 win against Admira. Jaissle gently smiled away the question about the currently missing killer instinct in Karim Adeyemi and Co. “We also had a bit of bad luck at the weekend.” He made that clear in his morning speech to the team. “I am sure that we will do better tomorrow.”
Before pandemic-related “ghost games” in Austria – including the possible “group final” on December 8 against Sevilla – things are likely to get heated again in the stands. The Stade Pierre Mauroy, which can hold almost 50,000 spectators, will be well filled. The stadium built for the EM 2016 enjoys the reputation of a “cauldron” thanks to its closable roof. Jaissle predicted, “It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
The opponent has invited to a “match capital”, a decision game. Twenty years after Lille’s very first CL appearance, the heroes of the time are expected to keep their fingers crossed. Last year’s sensational champion rarely felt like celebrating. Jocelyn Gourvennec’s team put themselves in an excellent position with a 2-1 win in Seville in the European Cup, but things are bumpy in Ligue 1. Lille have been without a win for five league games.
“Great Danes Are Tired”
“The mastiffs are tired,” was the last word – and weakened, Benjamin Andre and Jonathan Icon are yellow-locked. In addition, the coach recently missed serenity and maturity. AS Monaco were given the equalizer (2-2) on Friday, the national holiday in the Principality, despite being outnumbered.
Meanwhile, Canadian youngster Jonathan David is in good shape, having scored seven of Lille’s nine recent competitive matches. The game will be officiated by the Englishman Anthony Taylor, the referee of the European Championship round of 16 between Austria and Italy.