MADRID, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Real Sociedad will face perhaps their most important game of the season when they entertain Olympique Lyon in the second leg of their Champions League qualifying round tie on Wednesday night.
A week ago Real Sociedad produced a magnificent display to win 2-0 in France and pave the way for their qualification for the group stage of the competition, but everyone in San Sebastian knows they still have to finish the job.
Qualification for the Champions League group stage would be a major boost for the economy of the Basque club, which sold star midfielder, Asier Illaramendi to Real Madrid over the summer and it is calculated that the sale of Illaramendi and the group stage of the Champions League would mean an income of around 80 million US dollars, a considerable sum bearing in mind that the club was in the hands of receivers less than five years ago.
It would also be an important achievement for coach Jagoba Arrasate, who only took over the reins this summer after Philippe Montanier announced he was leaving to return to France. The man who was Montanier's assistant for the past two seasons, is still just 35-years old and the second youngest coach in the Primera Liga. Qualification for the group stage will only serve to strengthen his position as the coach of the team, while failure would have seen the first doubts begin to be raised over the club's decision.
Arrasate has two doubts for Wednesday: winger Antoine Griezmann, who scored a spectacular goal in Lyon a week ago, didn't travel to Saturday's game against Elche due to a shoulder injury, while central defender Carlos Martinez also missed the game, which ended 1-1, as the result of a muscle problem in his thigh.
Neither of the duo trained with the squad on Monday and they will be doubtful until shortly before kick off on Wednesday.
Real Sociedad conceded an early goal on Saturday and the players have admitted they started the game slowly, adding that a repeat of that on Wednesday would allow Olympique, who will be supported by thousands of travelling fans, to get back in the tie.
It is vital for Real Sociedad to start the game fast and hard and to not allow the French side to settle. If they are able to do that, a packed Anoeta Stadium will play its role in what promises to be a historic and lucrative night in San Sebastian.