For the first time since ... 1957, Lyon has the possibility of no longer being "the football suburb of Saint-Etienne", as Roger Rocher, the emblematic president of the great Forézienne era, used to repeat.
In the event of a success, Sunday at Geoffroy-Guichard, OL will then have won more derbies than their hated neighbor (44 Lyon successes, 44 Saint-Etienne victories, currently 33 draws).
However, in the Forez, all the lights are far from being "green".
The Stéphanois will not be carried by their Cauldron, behind closed doors requires, and above all, they have not, it is even an understatement to write it, prepared the most important game of their season in optimal conditions.
Finally if we can call it a preparation.
Two new cases of Covid this week
Hit hard by the Covid-19 and consequently deprived of 18 elements in Strasbourg last Sunday (10 players and 8 staff), ASSE, defeated in Alsace (1-0) was "organized" this week .
“Cerebral gymnastics”, to listen to Claude Puel, himself back on the bench against Lyon after contracting the virus.
His team has worked in eight small groups or mini-groups over the past few days.
The staff had to compose between able players, those returning from injury, those affected in Strasbourg and those recovering from Covid-19, but could not yet participate in collective training.
Not to mention those who tested positive this week.
We had a good week, with different groups, with different schedules, ”summarizes Puel.
Saint-Etienne-Lyon: health issues around a derby
Of the 10 players absent in Strasbourg (it takes 11 to postpone a match), 5 can return against Lyon (Bouanga, Hamouma, Abi, Neyou and Youssouf).
On paper at least, because a point on their state of form will be made at the very last moment.
Some have trained individually.
In a variety of ways.
By necessity, ASSE has individualized a lot, listening to the feelings of each one.
Five “Covid” absentees in Strasbourg, including captain Debuchy, are still not available for the derby.
To complicate matters, two new positive cases are to be deplored this week.
You don't have to be good at arithmetic to do the math.
There are 7 defections, for the moment and we cross our fingers not to see any additional cases appear before the match against Lyon.
Without counting the wounded, Khazri, Mason or Retsos.
Or the uncertain ones like Moueffek and Gourna.
"It's really adaptation from day to day"
“To prepare a tactic in such conditions, it's impossible, blows us a source at the club.
It's really day-to-day adaptation.
With so many cases last week, we also know that others can fall ”.
But, faithful to his temperament, the beating Puel does not advance, facing the neighbor, as an expiatory victim.
“I like seeing my team, my group, facing this situation.
We will be there and we will bravely defend our luck.
The derby and the green blood flow in the veins of our young players ”.
Lyon is warned.