Lyons' slide into the bottom three leaves Puel in need of a result

Lyons travel to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Champions League on tonight with coach Claude Puel under intense pressure after Saturday's defeat to Saint-Etienne plunged the seven-time former champions into the relegation zone.

It is an entirely different mood at Schalke, who approaches their Group B game at home to Benfica with renewed optimism after ending its losing run in the Bundesliga.

Puel has the backing of Lyons president Jean-Michel Aulas – for now– but there are reports that several players no longer want to play under him and another defeat will seriously weaken his position. "I am still the right man for the job. I don't ask myself any questions about resigning," Puel said.

Lyons are still without Argentina striker Lisandro Lopez, who has a thigh injury, so Bafetimbi Gomis is likely to start up front with playmaker Yoann Gourcuff pushing forward to support him. Gourcuff has so far failed to shine since signing from Bordeaux in the summer.

Puel will also be without holding midfielder Jean II Makoun and winger Cesar Delgado. With Brazilian defender Cris still out injured, Pape Diakhate and Dejan Lovren are likely to continue at centre-half.

"We've had no luck since the start of the season," Lyons midfielder Jeremy Toulalan said. "We just have to keep going, it's only through perseverance that we'll get there. We have to keep working hard."

Like Lyons, Hapoel Tel Aviv have experienced a difficult start to its domestic league season, winning only one of their first four games, and lost the Champions League opener 2-0 against Benfica.

On Saturday, the Israeli domestic champions were defeated for the second time this season, losing 4-2 at home to newly promoted Hapoel Kiryat Shmona. However, there is still a degree of optimism in the Tel Aviv camp ahead of their home debut in the Champions League. Tonight's match will be the first time a Champions League group stage game has been played at Bloomfield Stadium.

The Hapoel coach Eli Guttman is expected to make one significant change to the starting lineup, with experienced Israel international Walid Badir getting the nod over disappointing South African centre-back Bevan Fransman.

Lyons beat Schalke 1-0 in their first Group B game, but since then Felix Magath's side has posted its first Bundesliga victory of the season at Freiburg after four straight losses and followed that by recovering from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday. That game featured goals by big-name acquisitions Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Raul, who scored for the first time in seven Bundesliga and Champions League matches.

"I am really happy about finally scoring, but it's too bad that we didn't win the game," Raul said. "But as a team, we played a strong second half and can build upon that."

With Raul off the mark and Huntelaar having collected three goals and an assist in his last three domestic games, Magath does not really need to worry about the attack too much, but their defence is another story.

With Benedikt Hoewedes suspended for the Benfica encounter after his red card against Lyons, Magath had been expected to pair Christoph Metzelder and Nicolas Plestan in the centre. But Plestan has struggled in the league, getting sent off against Dortmund and then being taken off at halftime against Gladbach.

"We still have to keep working," Magath said about Plestan's chances of playing against Benfica. Like Schalke, reigning Portuguese champion Benfica has regained its form domestically, and beat Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-0 to begin their Champions League campaign.

Jorge Jesus' Benfica are fifth in the Liga Sagres with nine points from six rounds. The team has won three of its last four league games including the 1-0 win at Maritimo Funchal.

Despite the improvement in results, Jesus was not totally satisfied with the performance against Maritimo. "We missed too many chances. That cannot happen against Schalke," the coach said.

Jesus hopes Oscar Cardozo can continue his fine recent form. He went scoreless in three of the first four games of the season – all defeats – but scored once against Hapoel and twice in the next match, a 2-0 home win over Sporting Lisbon. Playmaker Pablo Aimar has been struggling with a knee problem. Should Aimar fail a fitness test, Jesus is likely to replace him with Nicolas Gaitan.

Even though Benfica has twice been European champions in 1961 and 1962, the Portuguese side has never won in Germany in 17 attempts, with six draws and 11 losses. Most recently, Benfica drew 1-1 at Hertha Berlin in last season's Europa League round of 32 on its way to the quarter-finals.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence