Lyon confident of Bayern upset

Coach says French can 'trouble' Germans as Ribery and Govou assist in prostitution case.

    Ribery trains for Bayern amid reports of his involvement in a prostitution case [AFP]

    Lyon have the class to upset Bayern Munich in their European Champions League semi-final and keep their fine run going, Lyon coach Claude Puel said.

    The match has an edge of controversy as Bayern's Franck Ribery and Lyon's Sidney Govou are involved in a prostitution investigation in Paris – although the nature of the evidence they are providing is not known.

    On the pitch, Lyon, who have reached the last four of the tournament for the first time, knocked out Real Madrid in the first knockout stage.

    They face Bayern in Munich in the first leg on Wednesday.

    "It is fantastic for our club to be in the semi-finals," the soft-spoken Puel said on Tuesday.

    "But we said it before the (quarter-final) against Bordeaux: why should it end here. Our run should not end here.

    "Bayern are confident, they had a huge win on the weekend (7-0 against Hanover 96), they are playing well but I still think we have what it takes to trouble them tomorrow."

    Long trip

    Puel said the long bus trip from Lyon to Munich, due to airport closures around Europe, had not affected the players.

    Semi-final fixtures

    Tuesday April 20

     Inter Milan v Barcelona

    Wednesday April 21

     Bayern Munich v Lyon

    Tuesday April 27

     Lyon v Bayern Munich

    Wednesday April 28

     Barcelona v Inter Milan

    Lyon arrived in a 10-van convoy via Stuttgart on Tuesday as volcanic ash shut down all northern European airports in the past days.

    "You need to be able to adapt. This is just one more thing we have to adapt," he said.

    "A bit more massage, a bit more walking and stretching. But I feel we have adapted," said the coach.

    Govou and Bayern playmaker Ribery are among several players to have been questioned by police as witnesses.

    "There is no special context to this game," Puel said sharply, brushing the issue aside.

    He also said it was funny to read media reports of alleged Bayern interest in goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and defender Ali Cissokoh.

    "It is amusing to hear that but also a bit sad that it comes out a few days before the match," he said.

    Presumed innocent

    Ribery and Govou must be presumed innocent at this stage after being heard as witnesses by police investigating a prostitution network, the French Football Federation (FFF) said on Tuesday.

    Lawyers for the two France internationals said Ribery and Govou had already been questioned and a police source close to the investigation said a third player should follow.

    "The FFF wishes to state its attachment to the presumption of innocence principle and express its faith in the judicial process," the organisation said in a brief statement.

    "The FFF has no access to the case's file and will make no further statement until the judicial process comes to a conclusion."

    French media said players heard by investigators were clients of a nightclub in Paris's high-end Champs-Elysees district that allegedly featured escort girls.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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