Lyon coach Gerard Houllier is calling on his second string to “show their great potential” as he rests several key players for the visit of Rosenborg.
With Lyon guaranteed to finish top of Group F following the draw with Real Madrid a fortnight ago, Houllier will rest Juninho Pernambucano and Florent Malouda both of whom have minor injuries, while Tiago, Claudio Cacapa and Gregory Coupet are rested.
Houllier will give starts to midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa, 18, and striker Karim Benzema, 17.
“They’re very talented and I want them to continue their development here,” said the Lyon coach.
“This is an opportunity for them to show off their great potential, and to prove to me that I’ve been wrong by not playing them every week.”
“The stadium will be full,” he said. “My players have a responsibility to play good football, to entertain the fans and to get a result. It could be the first time the club have finished the group stage unbeaten.”
“In the Champions League you always have to raise your level,” he warned. “This match may be sandwiched by two big league games, but right now all that matters is Rosenborg.”
Rosenborg coach Per-Mathias Hogmo will pick his strongest available team even though a place in the UEFA Cup is assured.
“It’s important to give a good account of ourselves and to gain confidence playing at this level,” Hogmo said.
Rosenborg are without injured midfield trio Per Ciljan Skjelbred, Jan Gunnar Solli and Orjan Berg and that, allied to a rustiness caused by a lay-off since the end of the Norwegian season on October 17, will not help their cause tonight.
“We’ve had a long break but my players are ready,” he said. “Our aim will be to create five or six chances and to try to score at least one goal against a very solid Lyon side.”
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