OM-OL, an "Olympico" under the sign of Rudi Garcia

If the Brazilian Sylvinho had arrived at the Olympique Lyonnais by the big door, Rudi Garcia had to settle for the small skylight. All eyes were focused on Laurent Blanc, but Jean-Michel Aulas surprised his world, on October 14, by betting on the former coach of Roma to leave the Lyon team of the doldrums in which she vegetated and give hope to fans galvanized by ambitious summer recruitment.

For Rudi Garcia and his men, the "Olympico" this Sunday night will be decisive to get closer to the podium in Ligue 1, qualifying for the Champions League. A confrontation all the more important when we remember that on March 18, 2018, a single point separated the OM, which Garcia then coached, OL. A point that Marseille had let slip, at the 90e minute of the match against Lyon.

A tumultuous arrival at Olympique Lyonnais

Heckled as soon as he arrived at OL in October with a petition calling for his resignation, Rudi Garcia, in the eyes of many supporters of Lyon, combines the flaws. In view of Lyon's willingness to compete with PSG, his profile has not seemed ambitious enough for some, especially after rumors of the club announcing the arrival of Mourinho or Blanc.

Read also Ligue 1: André Villas-Boas and OM, the mutual bet

The new technician Gones also has the double disadvantage of being a former member of the technical staff of Saint-Etienne and, above all, to be the former Marseille coach, a period during which he repeatedly scratched the OL, lambasting a favoritism of the referee body with regard to the club of Jean-Michel Aulas.

These murderous sorties against Lyon, the Marseille playmaker Dimitri Payet did not forget them and he did not fail to remind them Friday in a press conference. " A few months ago, we received Lyon, and having seen his talk about the Lyon players, the Lyon supporters, the Lyon president, it's weird that he postulates three months later for this club. (…) I will not go into detail, because this is not the goal either, but we will say that I would not like him to talk about us like that ", blasted the French international.

Read also Champions League: Rudi Garcia, seductive and combative, leads the operation reconquest of OL

A move to mixed OM

The doubts surrounding the appointment of Rudi Garcia to OL contrast with the enthusiasm aroused by the arrival of the Nemourian Commandery in October 2016. Moribond for years, the OM seemed at the edge of a new cycle. The American real estate developer Franck McCourt has just bought the club and wants to make a big one in Europe. The businessman changes all the staff: the coach, the president but also the sports director.

Rudi Garcia breathes new momentum: OM finish the season at 5e Championship place, far from the modest 13e place obtained in spring 2016 by Franck Passi. His second year at the helm of the Marseille team is a success, Marseille finishes at the 4e place in Ligue 1, and, above all, dream again in European Cup. His epic in the Europa League ends in the final of the competition, after a scathing failure (0-3) against Atletico de Madrid Antoine Griezmann, author of a double that night.

During the years Garcia, the team is strengthened by recruiting Payet, Sanson and Gustavo and also accumulates the bad picks – sometimes expensive – like Mítroglou, Abdennour and other Radonjić. But in three years under the colors of Marseille, the former coach Lillois fails to achieve the objectives of the foil "OM Champions project" dear to McCourt, ending the season 2018-2019 to 5e place, two steps from the C1 qualification. Rudi Garcia endorses this setback, and resigns on May 22, declaring to assume his share of responsibility in the failure to not bring the club into the Champions League ".

Three points difference between OL and OM

Recruited a few months later by Aulas, Rudi Garcia misses, on October 19, his first coaching OL, at home, against Dijon (0-0), and loses in the wake against Benfica Lisbon (2-1 ) in the Champions League. Since then, Olympique Lyonnais is better and has chained three victories against Metz, Toulouse and Benfica, a series that his predecessor failed to achieve.

To continue its momentum and defeat Marseille, the Lyon coach will have to innovate. Having progressively replaced Sylvinho's 4-3-3 4-4-2 by exploiting Memphis Depay's finisher skills, he could be stripped of the injured Dutch striker and probably change his plans.

Adapting is exactly what his counterpart in Marseille does best. By replacing Rudi Garcia at OM, André Villas-Boas knew his squad would lack depth. But the Portuguese should not expect such an avalanche of wounded, forcing him every weekend to "tinker". An area in which "AVB" shows some success. Seventh to twelfth second, Marseille could still be overtaken by his opponent in the evening, 12ebut only pointing at three lengths.

Read also Ligue 1: behind PSG, a very tight championship

After five games with OL, Rudi Garcia's record is close to his OM debut (2 wins, 2 ties and one loss). The Lyon coach who has never won a "Olympico" in the league will however be wary: his sixth meeting at the head of the team Marseille had ended in a heavy defeat (4-0) on the outside face to Monegasques.

Vincent Bresson


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