Rudi Garcia’s team did the impossible when they beat favorites Manchester City in the Quarter finals. It was arguably the standout result of the round. More importantly it was the manner with which they won. Counter tactics by Rudi Garcia worked to perfection and anybody who’s known or followed the coach's career long enough wouldn’t be surprised by his success either.
It does look like a season to remember for French clubs as club rivals Paris Saint Germain reached the final. All of France will be watching Olympique Lyonnais as Rudi Garcia hopes to become only the second French manager in history to reach the Champions League final after Didier Deschamp.
As we witnessed in the Quarter final, the French have a good combination of tactical nous and talent. Houssem Aouar has seven assists in 14 appearances this season in the Champions League. The team definitely do not lack ambition and they are a joy to watch.
But Lyon have task on their hands. If the quarter final was difficult then the semi-final has them pitted against arguably the favorite for the competition, Bayern Munchen. The German club has been ruthless to say the least. They destroyed their rivals Barcelona in the previous round and look set to continue their form with squad fit and raring to go.
Hansi Flick’s tactics so far have been spot on. He’s kept it simple with a touch of brilliance with some of flank play from the likes of Gnabry and Davies in particular really catching the eye. The players are enjoying their football and it is showing in the team’s results. This will be Bayern Munchen’s 12th appearance in the semi-final of this competition. The club is only the second side in history to record 9 opening wins and will equal the record of 10 wins if they beat Lyon in 90 minutes.
One thing common in both the coaches is that they’ve stayed faithful to their system. We rarely see any changes in personnel or shifts in tactical formations. This is mostly because the players in their system have performed to their utmost capacity and more importantly the systems deployed have been a success overall.
Rudi Garcia will likely start with a 3-5-2 with the motive of overcrowding the midfield thus allowing the wing backs space to feed onto. Hansi Flick will play his favored 4-2-3-1 which has given Bayern so much success against all their opponents.
Flick might play Kimmich at right back to cover for the attacking threat of Cornet and Aouar. Bruno Guimaraes will be key here as Rudi Garcia will attempt to block the threat of playmaker Thiago Alcantara who has been magnificent for the German club despite rumours linking him with a move to England.
With all due respect to the French side, this looks like a tie that favors Bayern Munchen - especially if they score the first goal. If they are on song, they should win this match quite convincingly. They have quality in every department but most importantly they they’ve peaked at just the right moment. Lyon's best chance is to grab an early goal and take advantage of the vulnerability at the heart of Bayern's defence.
Prediction: A 4-1 convincing win for Bayern Munchen.