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Odds favour Rangers in Lyon showdown

There is everything to play for at Ibrox when Rangers FC will look to hold off Olympique Lyonnais in their shared pursuit of second place in Group E.

Rangers are hoping for more to enjoy on Matchday 6
Rangers are hoping for more to enjoy on Matchday 6 ©Getty Images

There is everything to play for at Ibrox on Matchday 6 when Rangers FC will be looking to hold off the challenge of visitors Olympique Lyonnais in their shared pursuit of second place in Group E.

• Although the sides stand level on seven points, Rangers hold the upper hand having beaten Lyon 3-0 in France in October. The Scottish team need only avoid defeat, therefore, to stay above Lyon by virtue of their superior head-to-head record. For the French champions, only victory will do if they are to celebrate reaching the knockout rounds for the fifth consecutive season.

• Where last season Lyon booked their passage to the last 16 with two games to spare, they must attempt to do it the hard way this time round following defeats in their opening two games.

• If a 3-0 reverse at FC Barcelona on Matchday 1 was a setback, then losing their next game by the same score to Rangers left a huge dent in their ambitions. Lee McCulloch, Daniel Cousin and DaMarcus Beasley were the scorers for a Rangers side who had not won any of their previous nine away matches in the UEFA Champions League in a run dating back to 2000.

• Yet other clubs before have shown that two opening defeats need not spell UEFA Champions League elimination. FC Internazionale Milano (2006/07), Werder Bremen (2005/06), Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Newcastle United FC (2002/03) all recovered to qualify for the last 16.

• Alain Perrin's men duly revived their hopes with successive wins against VfB Stuttgart – 2-0 away, then 4-2 at home – and a 2-2 draw with Barcelona on Matchday 5. Trailing twice to goals from Andrés Iniesta and Lionel Messi, Juninho found an equaliser on both occasions, first with a seventh-minute free-kick and then a penalty on 80 minutes.

• There was further good news for Lyon that night with Rangers losing 3-2 at Stuttgart. Walter Smith's team succumbed to a Ciprian Marica strike five minutes from time in a match where they opened the scoring through Charlie Adam (27) and then looked to have claimed a point when Barry Ferguson (70) cancelled out Stuttgart's 2-1 lead given them by Cacau (45) and Pável Pardo (62).

• It was the second reverse in as many matches for Rangers, who lost 2-0 at Barcelona on Matchday 4. Yet they are unbeaten at Ibrox so far in the competition, having overcome Stuttgart 2-1 and held Barcelona 0-0.

• Overall, Rangers are undefeated in eleven home matches in UEFA club competition - 14 if qualifiers are included – taking in last season's UEFA Cup campaign and their 2005/06 run to the UEFA Champions League first knockout round.

• French side AJ Auxerre were the last foreign visitors to prevail at Ibrox, winning a UEFA Cup tie 2-0 on 15 December 2004. The circumstances then were not unlike the present ones as Rangers went into the game needing only a point to secure qualification from the group stage. Instead two goals from Bonaventure Kalou sent them tumbling out of the competition.

• If that is a positive omen for Lyon then they may also want to consider that Rangers have not won any of their last seven home encounters with French opposition, drawing three and losing four of them. The last time the Glasgow club beat a visiting French side was in September 1971 when they overcame Stade Rennais FC 1-0 in a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first-round tie.

• Lyon's two previous visits to Scotland have been to the home of Rangers' great rivals Celtic FC over in the east end of Glasgow. They won 1-0 at Celtic Park in a UEFA Cup second-round tie in November 1999 – in which goalkeeper Grégory Coupet featured – but went down 2-0 in a UEFA Champions League group stage game in September 2003.

• Lyon goalkeeper Coupet was on the losing side on his last visit to Glasgow with France for a UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying match on 7 October 2006, which Scotland won 1-0. Rangers manager Smith was in charge of Scotland that day and his side included Ferguson, McCulloch and David Weir.

• That trio together with full-back Alan Hutton all featured when Scotland won the return match in Paris on 12 September this year. Lyon's Karim Benzema appeared as a substitute for France.

• Rangers midfielder Brahim Hemdani played under Lyon coach Perrin for two years at Olympique de Marseille between 2002 and 2004.

• Rangers striker Jean-Claude Darcheville and Lyon right-back Anthony Réveillère were team-mates at Rennes. Réveillère made his first appearances for Rennes during the 1997/98 campaign, which was Darcheville's last with the Ligue 1 club.