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Lyon v Barcelona preview: all you need to know

Lyon must take on Lionel Messi and Co without suspended talisman Nabil Fekir – welcome to our in-depth guide.

Ousmane Dembélé, Lionel Messi and Samuel Umtiti on the eve of the first leg
Ousmane Dembélé, Lionel Messi and Samuel Umtiti on the eve of the first leg ©Getty Images
  • Génésio: "You need balance against Barcelona"
  • Hosts missing Fekir through suspension
  • Barcelona won just once in last four games
  • Return takes place in Spain on 13 March

Reporter's view (David Crossan, Lyon have saved their best football for the really big occasions this season; should they play as they did over the two games against Manchester City in the group stage, they're capable of giving Barcelona a fright. Being without inspirational captain Nabil Fekir complicates matters and Lyon cannot afford their standards to slip. Perform like they did in scraping past Guingamp on Friday and this tie will be over before the second leg in Spain.

Possible line-ups

Barcelona: The story so far
Barcelona: The story so far

Lyon: Lopes; Dubois, Marcelo, Denayer, Mendy; Tousart, Ndombele; Traoré, Depay, Aouar; Dembélé
Out: Fekir (suspended), Gouiri (cruciate)
Doubtful: Denayer (groin), Ndombele (ankle)
Misses next game if booked: none

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitić, Busquets, Vidal; Dembélé, Messi, Suárez
Out: Rafinha (knee), Cillessen (calf), Arthur (hamstring), Vermaelen (calf)
Doubtful: none
Misses next game if booked: none


Key battle

Lyon: The story so far
Lyon: The story so far

Lyon coach Bruno Génésio has a selection headache in the absence of Fekir – once dubbed the 'French Messi'. He will have to decide whether to stick with his usual 4-2-3-1, a system designed for the skipper; in this scenario, Depay is likely to pull OL's strings in the middle. With Houssem Aouar on the left, it would be the template that did for City on matchday one. Genesio can also opt for a 4-3-3 with Ndombele, Tousart and Aouar in midfield and Traoré, Dembélé and Depay in attack.

Where to watch

Fans can find their local UEFA Champions League broadcast partner(s) here.

Form guide

Last game: Lyon 2-1 Guingamp (15/02)

Barcelona's amazing round of 16 comeback in 2017
Barcelona's amazing round of 16 comeback in 2017

Last game: Barcelona 1-0 Valladolid (16/02)

Bruno Génésio, Lyon coach

Manchester City and Barcelona are two attack-minded teams. We produced two good games against City, and we can do it again against Barcelona even though they are a bit different with a superstar [Lionel Messi]. You need a balance when you play Barcelona; you need organisation, discipline and to put them under pressure each time you have the ball at your feet.

For me, the starting XI is clear; only medical elements [surrounding Jason Denayer and Tanguy Ndombele] can change it.

Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona coach

We have been waiting a long time to play this game and we have been looking forward to it, as I expect Lyon have, too. They are a great team, and are having a good campaign thus far, having not lost in the Champions League yet.

They've got good attackers who can launch counters at you. What I like most about them is how they press and not allow you to play your game as a team, rather than a collection of individuals. It'll be a tough match.