La Real handed tough Lyon test

Whilst Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all await to learn their Champions League fate, Real Sociedad were handed the tricky task of seeing off Lyon in the qualifying round.

La Real, last season's surprise fourth-placed team, knew their passage to the group stages wouldn't be easy but the tie against the French giants looks particularly daunting – even though Lyon haven't won the French title since 2008, suffering a noticeable drop in quality over recent years.

Recently appointed boss Jagoba Arrasate rightly believes that his team have what it takes to see off the challenge of the French side, declaring “We are happy, but we know the opponent will not be easy. They are a strong team who are good at the back, so it will be difficult to score goals against them, but I believe we can win.”

Arrasate's confidence is predicated by the fact that the Erreala scored 70 goals in La Liga last season, behind only Barcelona and Real Madrid. Spearheaded by Imanol Agirretxe and Carlos Vela, who bagged a combined 27 goals last year, the Coach will be placing his hopes on their shoulders.

One of the more fascinating stories attached to this two-legged tie will be the performance of winger Antoine Griezmann. A French Under-21 international, Griezmann had trials with Lyon aged just 13, but was told he was “too small”. Now one of the most dangerous wingers in Spain, the 22-year-old has the chance to prove himself in his homeland and show Lyon that they were wrong to reject him all those years ago.

Whilst the Anoeta side will fancy their chances, the Ligue 1 club are still a side that possess great quality. Young players such as Clement Grenier, Alexandre Lacazette and Maxime Gonalons form a strong vase, whilst Bafetimbi Gomis was the top French scorer last year with 16 goals. No longer the top team in France, Lyon are currently living in the shadows of moneybags Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco, so Champions League qualification is a must.

There is also European history between the two sides, as Real Sociedad's only Champions League campaign ended with defeat over two legs to Les Gones. Whilst only Xabi Prieto and Markel Bergara remain from that squad, revenge will be on the cards for the Basque side.

The tie promises to be an exhibit of attractive football, but also a closely contested one. Despite Lyon's far more extensive history of success in the Champions League, La Real will believe that they can make it four Spanish teams in the group stages this year.