There was surprise when French coach Philippe Montanier announced that he was leaving Real Sociedad after leading them to fourth place in the league last season. He had overachieved on the 12th-highest wage bill in the league and a Uefa Champions League qualifier was his reward.
Except Montanier did not hang around. A cautious La Real only offered him a one-year contract - they had been stung paying up contracts before.
Montanier did not sign. He felt that he had been under pressure to sell his best players, that mounting dual campaigns domestically and in Europe would be too much and see him exposed by December as his team struggled.
So Montanier opted for the security of a three-year contract at Rennes in Ligue 1 in France and his former assistant, Jogoba Arrasate, 35, took control.
Arrasate immediately saw star midfielder Asier Illarramendi sold to Real Madrid for €30 million (Dh147.5m) and could have hoped for an easier Champions League qualifier than Lyon.
The Basques were not fazed, however. Following a winning start to the season, they travelled to Lyon, backed by 6,000 fans, and won 2-0 on Tuesday night with an impressive display.
The second leg is next week and La Real are now clear favourites to go through to the lucrative group stages of the competition. And how they deserve it as they demonstrate that there is life after Montanier.
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