|Ribery argues after being sent off by Roberto Rossi in Munich [AFP]|
Bayern Munich playmaker Franck Ribery will miss the European Champions League final after he was handed a three-match suspension by the continent’s governing body Uefa.
Ribery was sent off for serious foul play in the first leg of Bayern’s semi-final victory over Lyon.
The Frenchman did not play in the second leg of the tie in Lyon on Tuesday which Bayern won 3-0 to complete a 4-0 aggregate victory.
The German side, who have three days to appeal against the decision, will play either Barcelona or Inter Milan in the final on May 22 in Madrid.
Lyon, meanwhile, will aim to pick up the pieces of their season after their 3-0 humiliation left them with only domestic honours – and a place in Europe next season – to chase.
The former multiple French champions are sitting fifth in the French league, 12 points behind leaders Marseille, with five games left to play starting with Sunday’s trip to fourth-placed Montpellier.
“There’s an obvious disappointment because it’s a beautiful adventure which has finished”
Claude Puel, Lyon coach
Despite their poor domestic form, Lyon had their most successful season in Europe as they reached the Champions league semi-final for the first time despite a less talented side than the one that won seven titles from 2002.
But the side from south-eastern France have been in decline since the departure of coach Gerard Houllier in 2007, who was replaced by Alain Perrin and then current coach Claude Puel.
Despite investing $105 million in recruitment the club have lost their best players including Eric Abidal, Florent Malouda, Karim Benzema, Tiago Mendes, Mahamadou Diarra, Sylvain Wiltord, Juninho and Gregory Coupet.
They have also fallen victim to financial difficulties with the planned construction of a 60,000-seater stadium struggling to come to fruition.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas insists the club have the funds to survive two years without Champions League football but the absence of Europe’s top money-spinning competition will have a knock-on effect on recrutiment.
Just a year ago Lyon were swept aside by Barcelona in the Champions League and then saw their French title hopes collapse despite looking on their way to an eighth title at the winter break.
Despite looking set to be the first Lyon coach since 2001 to win nothing with the club in his two years in charge, Puel insists he is “convinced that Lyon will manage to be on the podium.”
“There’s an obvious disappointment because it’s a beautiful adventure which has finished,” said Puel after their defeat to Bayern.
“From Sunday we have to put that behind us and be there against Montpellier.
“We’ve a united group who are going to show that right until the end of the season. We know we have a difficult calendar against direct rivals. We have to regroup and show the character we have shown in our previous matches.”
After Montpellier, Lyon host second-placed Auxerre on Wednesday, before taking on Valenciennes, Monaco and relegation-threatened Le Mans.