Making a debut in the knockout stage from the last seven seasons, Lyon will host Barcelona on Tuesday which is meant to throttle the knockout stage of the Champions League at the Groupama Stadium. Despite winning the first three fixtures, they have lost five of their last six encounters at this stage.
Lyon is those underdogs who have been progressing quite well and although they haven’t beaten Barcelona in a European match, they still have six wins out of their seven fixtures. They definitely have the potential to cause all sorts of problems for Barcelona on Tuesday night. Winning is tough but can give them a lead in progressing to the quarter-finals of European’s elite competition.
Lyon will be without their captain Nabil Fekir due to suspension. Key midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is also struggling with an ankle problem, while defender Jason Denayer was substituted against Guingamp at the weekend and is seen as a doubt.
There’s no doubt that Barcelona will land yet another La Liga and Copa del Rey doubles this season but they are currently eyeing to
lift the Champions League trophy. Although the Catalan giants have not won this competition since 2015 and managed to reach till the quarterfinals stage in each of the three seasons. Last season, Barcelona beat Chelsea 4-1 at this stage and their head-to-head 6-5 victory over PSG occurred at the same stage of the 2016-17 campaign. What really makes Barcelona a worthy candidate is the presence of Lionel Messi which is enough to make their way to hold the trophy this season. But there is a huge game away at Sevilla next weekend before their mega face-off El Classico for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. The fact that Barcelona has been performing quite poorly and they have won seven of their last 19 away games in the Champions League is a clear indication that it will be a hell of a difficult game for the Spanish Champions.
Thomas Vermaelen is unavailable after picking up a calf problem against Valladolid, with the Belgian joining Rafinha, Jasper Cillessen and Arthur on the sidelines. Philippe Coutinho could be left on the bench once again with Ousmane Dembele expected to get the nod. Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo, and Clement Lenglet will all be returning on the turf.
Lyon: Lopes; Marcal, Marcelo, Denayer; Mendy, Aouar, Ndombele, Tete; Depay, Dembele, Cornet.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Vidal, Rakitic; Dembele, L Suarez, Messi
Place: Groupama Stadium
Barcelona has a record of winning through narrow necks at knockout stages and with the current line-up, the Spanish giants will claim a victory here.
Barcelona 1-0 Lyon.