Lyon will be without several key players for the visit of Bayern Munich as the two Group F pacesetters vie for top spot.
Cris and Juninho Pernambucano are suspended for the section decider, while injuries to Francois Clerc, Anthony Reveillere, John Mensah and Mathieu Bodmer have hit the defence. If Mensah fails to return from a calf injury, Puel admits he will need to “innovate a little” in picking his defence.
However, Puel has total faith in those available.
“I’m not sure you can say it’ll be a weakened side,” the 47-year-old said. “We’ll have some new faces and maybe we’ll play slightly differently but it’ll be a good, competitive team.
“My players are always ready to perform in the Champions League. We’re capable of switching from one competition to another and I know they’ll deliver. Bayern will be strong but so will we.”
Both clubs are unbeaten with eleven points from five games, although the French double-winners have a slender advantage courtesy of their goal in the 1-1 stalemate in Munich. A score draw or an away win would see the visitors leapfrog their opponents, thus securing what coach Jürgen Klinsmann sees as “an important advantage”.
“The statistics prove it’s better to win the group so that’s our objective,” he said. “We want to give ourselves the best opportunity in the next round, which is why the best players will play and play with complete focus.”
Despite injuries to Lucio, Ze Roberto, Lukas Podolski and Christian Lell, Bayern are high on confidence thanks to an unbeaten run that was extended to 14 games with the 2-1 triumph over Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim on Friday.
Bayern’s upturn has coincided with Franck Ribery’s return to fitness, and Klinsmann acknowledged the importance of the French international.
“It’s no coincidence that our results have improved dramatically since Franck has come back,” said the former Bayern striker. “He’s very important because he has an infectious personality and his hunger rubs off on everyone.”
Klinsmann is returning to France having played for Monaco in the early 1990s, in the same side as former midfielder Puel.
“I’m delighted to be back in France and taking on Claude’s team,” he said. “I played with him for two years under Arsène Wenger. I remember a very hard-working, ambitious player, and I’m not surprised to see him doing well.”