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Champions League group stage recap: LOSC end long wait

The French champions recovered from a slow start to reach the round of 16 for the first time in 15 years.

All of LOSC Lille's group stage goals

LOSC took two points from their first three UEFA Champions League group stage game before embarking on a three-game winning streak to take top spot in their section, and get momentum going for their long-awaited return to the knockout stages.

Round of 16: Chelsea vs LOSC

Campaign so far

LOSC's Ikone: 'For us this was like a final'

Group G winners: W3 D2 L1 F7 A4
Top scorer: Jonathan David (3)

14/09: LOSC 0-0 Wolfsburg
29/09: Salzburg 2-1 LOSC (Adeyemi 35pen, 53pen; Burak Yılmaz 62)
20/10: LOSC 0-0 Sevilla
02/11: Sevilla 1-2 LOSC (Ocampos 15; David 43pen, Ikoné 51)
23/11: LOSC 1-0 Salzburg (David 31)
08/12: Wolfsburg 1-3 LOSC (Steffen 89; Burak Yılmaz 11, David 72, Gomes 78)

Campaign in ten words: Unfancied French champions keen to cause more upsets in Europe.

UEFA.com reporter's view

After an underwhelming start in Group G, Jocelyn Gourvennec's men did not look like they had much chance of reaching the round of 16. However, after securing their first group stage win in nine years on Matchday 4, they kept the momentum going, two more victories clinching a place in the knockout phase for the first time since 2006/07.

What we've learned

LOSC defied footballing logic to deny Paris Saint-Germain the French title last season, but if their Ligue 1 defence has stalled, LOSC's enduring spirit has shown in Europe. The title-winning side remains largely in place, with Canadian forward Jonathan David scoring regularly. That cohesion showed in the second half of the group stage, and they remain a resilient bunch.

Fantasy star performers

Classic LOSC Champions League goals

Reinildo Mandava – 37 points
José Fonte – 36 points
Zeki Çelik – 33 points

Squad changes

In: Hatem Ben Arfa, Domagoj Bradarić, Edon Zhegrova
Out: Jonathan Ikoné, Rocco Ascone, Reinildo Mandava, Cheikh Niasse, Yusuf Yazıcı

Clubs could register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.

Key stats

• Alongside Dortmund, LOSC had the best ball recovery stats in the group stage: 282 in total, with Reinildo (2nd) and Benjamin André (5th) both in the individual top five ranking.

• David scored 22 Ligue 1 goals in 2021, only two fewer than Paris's Kylian Mbappé. The last LOSC player to reach such a high total in a single calendar year was André Guy, who also hit 22 in 1966.

• This was LOSC's seventh UEFA Champions League group stage campaign, but only their second in the last nine years. They have only made it to the last 16 once before, in 2006/07 when Manchester United ended their challenge.