Moussa Dembele has warned his Lyon teammates to expect a lot of noise at Ibrox, but reports in France claim the former Celtic striker will miss the game against Rangers.
Dembele has scored four goals in three games heading into the Europa League group opener on Thursday, but French media report the 25-year-old will miss a trip to Glasgow due to a muscle injury.
An interview with Dembele appeared on the official Lyon website on Tuesday night without any mention of his fitness issues.
Dembele, who has scored seven goals against Rangers in two seasons in Scotland, said: “I have had some great battles against this team. I know what to expect. They are a team that plays well with the ball. and who gives it all, I scored my first hat-trick against them.
“I played the Champions League in Scotland. I saw some pretty crazy atmospheres. There will be a lot of noise on Thursday.”
Dembele is aiming high in the tournament.
“It’s a great competition with very great teams,” he said. “It’s our Champions League.
“We have to give everything and show Europe what we are capable of. Winning this competition is a goal. We have to win every game.”
Filip Helander has had surgery for a knee problem that will prevent him from entering “for the foreseeable future”, according to Rangers director Steven Gerrard.
The defender was carried on a stretcher after coming to a halt in the second half of Saturday’s Premiership game against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
Gerrard has the rest of his squad at his disposal, including Connor Goldson after the defender missed the St Johnstone game due to Covid-19 isolation.
Lyonnais received a boost when the Scottish government granted an exemption for three of their international players to enter the country despite the recent visit of the Red List countries.
Brazilian pair Bruno Guimaraes and Lucas Paqueta and Zimbabwean Tino Kadewere have all received a reprieve.
However, the French newspaper The team reported that former Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri will miss the trip as he is not yet fully vaccinated.
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- Rangers and Lyon have already faced each other in the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League group stage – on both occasions the visiting team have won 3-0.
- Rangers won their first four major European UEFA home games against French opponents between 1956 and 1971, but are winless in their last eight such matches (D3 L5), although their last game was against Lyon in December 2007.
- Lyon have lost just one of their 18 UEFA Europa League group stage games (11 v., 6 n.), Losing 1-0 to Atalanta in their last group game in December 2017.
- Rangers have not lost any of their last 10 UEFA Europa League group stage games (V5 N5) since a 2-1 loss to Young Boys in October 2019. They have never lost a match in the group stage of the competition in Ibrox (P9 V5 N4).
- Including the playoffs, the Rangers have lost two of their last three home games in European competition, one more than in their previous 23 at Ibrox (16 v., 6 n.).
When are the matches of the group stage of the Europa League?
Day 1: September 16, 2021
Day 2: September 30, 2021
Day 3: 21 October 2021
Day 4: November 4, 2021
Day 5: 25 November 2021
6th day: December 9, 2021
All the key dates of the Europa League
round of 16: March 10 & 17, 2022
Quarter-finals: April 7 & 14, 2022
Semi-finals: April 28 and May 5, 2022
Final: May 18, 2022 (Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, Seville)