Exclusive: Olympique Lyonnais and France superstar Wendie Renard reacts to Les Fenottes’ edge ahead of UEFA Women’s Champions League Quarter-finals encounters against Bayern Munich

Jean-Luc Vasseur’s Olympique Lyonnais Féminin currently stands three points clears at the top of the French Division Féminine ahead of second place Paris Saint-Germain.

The reigning Division 1 Féminine champions, Olympique Lyonnais, currently remains undefeated in the league this season having registered 38 points from 14 games; OL have conceded four goals and scored 54 in the Division 1 Féminine in the 2019/2020 season.

In their last five matches, Olympique Lyonnais dedeated FC Metz 6-0 on December 8 followed with a 2-0 victory against Dijon on December 14.

Furthermore, Olympique Lyonnais, who triumphantly sealed a historic treble by winning the Division 1 Féminine, UEFA Women’s Champions League and Coupe de France Féminine last season, continued their rich run of form in Division 1 Féminine against Olympique de Marseille on January 12, which saw the reigning UEFA Women’s Champions League holders win 9-1.

Les Fenottes previous two Division 1 Féminine games, a 0-0 stalemate against Girondins de Bordeaux on January 19 followed by a comprehensive 5-0 rout against Stade de Reims on January 26, witnessed the French powerhouse earn 13 points from a possible 15 during their previous five encounters in the Division 1 Féminine.

Ada Hegerberg (14 goals in 13 games), Eugénie Le Sommer (five goals in 10 games) and Dzsenifer Marozsan (seven goals in 14 games) presently lead amongst goalscorers for Olympique Lyonnais in the 2019/2020 campaign. Olympique Lyonnais, 17-time Division 1 Féminine champions, ten-time Coupe de France Féminine holders and six-time UEFA Women’s Champions League winners, have witnessed 33.3% of their goals arrive in the final 15 minutes this season.

Olympique Lyonnais’ next seven fixtures in all competitions are against: Thonon Évian (Away – February 1), Olympique de Marseille (Away – February 8), Montpellier (Home – February 21), Paris Saint-Germain (Away – March 13), Bayern Munich (Away – March 23 – UEFA Women’s Champions League Quarter-finals – 1st leg), Fleury 91 (Home – March 27) and Bayern Munich (Home – April 1 – UEFA Women’s Champions League Quarter-finals – 2nd leg).

Prior to Olympique Lyonnais’ 5-0 victory against Stade de Reims on January 26, FOX Sports Radio 96.9FM/1340AM’s Dean Perretta briefly caught up with Olympique Lyonnais and France superstar, Wendie Renard, who most recently came sixth place in the prestigious 2019 Ballon d’Or award vote, to discuss Olympique Lyonnais’ major ambitions of defending their UEFA Women’s Champions League crown, coupled alongside domestic dominance under Jean-Luc Vasseur and Renard’s thoughts on the pressures of the French giants maintaining their very high standards.

Dean Perretta: Wendie, can you talk about the expectations and ambitions for Olympique Lyonnais this season and, of course, the pressures on Les Fenottes from the media in France to continue its dominance both Division 1 Féminine and in the UEFA Champions League?

Wendie Renard: Expectations are huge year after year. We won the UEFA Women Champions League and our Championship for several seasons. But there is no real pressure. We know that we have to defend our titles, to defend the club, to preserve our reputation. We are all very competitive on the field. We only want to win trophies as much as possible. Our goals and expectations are always very high here at Olympique Lyon, and it’s still the case this year. We will do our best to win. We can still win all the competition this year, so I hope we can reach our goals.

Dean Perretta: Olympique triumphed with a historic treble winning season last term. With that being said, what are your thoughts on the confidence and resilience throughout the squad at this moment in time?

Wendie Renard: It was an amazing treble, that’s true. It was even historical. Winning the UEFA Women Champions League once again was so special. But this year, we haven’t won anything yet. So for now, we can do better than the previous season if we can keep or even raise our level. Confidence is the key word in the group, but it’s important to question ourselves individually and as a team to go forward and to stay on top. We never get complacent! The team always want to win. Everytime I put my boots, I just want to give everything and, above all, to win.

Dean Perretta: Can you reveal your thoughts on Jean-Luc Vasseur and his level of perfectionism and demands as a Head Coach?

Wendie Renard: This year, we have almost a whole new coaching staff, except two or three guys. The Head Coach is here to bring his own experience. As he said, he’s not here to change everything because the previous work was good. He’s trying to bring his touch, his football knowledge. And he wants to help us to mature as football players. The football strategy he wants to set up is very challenging. Everyday, he tries to correct what is wrong so as we can be better at every game.

Dean Perretta: In terms of technical improvements, which areas of the game do you feel Olympique Lyonnais has grown most since the start of the season?

Wendie Renard: We are lucky, and I am lucky, because I play with some of the best football players in the world. Those players are so comfortable with the ball, and we have all kind of profiles in the team: some are very fast, some are really tough with the defenders, some are very good in the small spaces, some are technical, some are powerful. But we can get better in every areas of the game. We can do much better to keep the possession. For me, we really improved the most on the fast breaks. We’re really faster right now. We are some players with great adaptative skills, so we can adjust to the coach’s requests.

Dean Perretta: Lastly, can you talk about France’s group at the 2020 Tournoi de France and, of course, the reaction and anticipation throughout France leading up to this tournament?

Wendie Renard: It’s a very interesting tournament. The World Cup (last year here in France) was just amazing, with a high degree of interest. We will play against Canada, Netherlands and Brazil (in the 2020 Tournoi de France) in March. It will be a good learning experience for us. It’s always good to play those kind of games, against the best teams. We’ll have to be ready to win that tournament. We always want to grow up and to go forward. As it’s the first tournament, there are expectations, people want us to win it.   It’s up to us to do whatever it takes to take that trophy. Let’s see if the degree of interest will be the same (as it was with the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup).

Dean Perretta
Dean Perretta is a 2x SEA Award-winning creative, Broadcast Journalist, Reporter, Courtside Analyst for BBC televised London Lions and Executive Producer who currently contributes to FOX Sports Radio, FourFourTwo Magazine and Muscle & Fitness Magazine.