Moussa Dembele has warned his Lyon team-mates 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 ahead of Thursday’s Europa League group opener but reports in French media say the 25-year-old will miss out on a trip to Glasgow because of a muscle injury.
An interview with Dembele appeared on Lyon’s official website on Tuesday evening with no mention of his fitness issues.
Dembele, who scored seven goals against Rangers in two seasons in Scotland, said: “I’ve had some great battles against this team. I know what to expect. It’s a team that plays well on the ball and gives their all. I scored my first hat-trick against them.
“I have played in the Champions League in Scotland. I have seen some pretty crazy atmospheres. There is going to be a lot of noise on Thursday.”
Dembele has set his sights high in the tournament.
“It’s a great competition with very great teams,” he said. “It’s our Champions League.
“We must give our all and show Europe what we are capable of. Winning this competition is a goal. We have to win every match.”
Filip Helander has had surgery on a knee problem which will keep him out for “the foreseeable future”, according to Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.
The defender was carried off on a stretcher after pulling up in the second half of Saturday’s Premiership match against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
Gerrard has the remainder of his squad available to him, including Connor Goldson after the defender missed the St Johnstone match due to Covid-19 isolation.
Lyon received a boost when the Scottish Government granted an exemption for three of their international players to enter the country despite recently visiting red-list countries.
Brazil pair Bruno Guimaraes and Lucas Paqueta and Zimbabwe’s Tino Kadewere have all been granted a reprieve.
However, French newspaper L’Equipe has reported former Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri will miss the journey because he is not yet fully vaccinated.
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- Rangers and Lyon have faced previously in the 2007-08 UEFA Champions League group stages – on both occasions, the away side won 3-0.
- Rangers won their first four home major UEFA European games against French opponents between 1956 and 1971 but are winless in their last eight such matches (D3 L5), though their last game was against Lyon in December 2007.
- Lyon have only lost one of their 18 UEFA Europa League group stage matches (W11 D6), losing 1-0 to Atalanta in what was their most recent group game in December 2017.
- Rangers have lost none of their last 10 UEFA Europa League group stage matches (W5 D5) since a 2-1 defeat to Young Boys in October 2019. They have never lost a group stage match in the competition at Ibrox (P9 W5 D4).
- Including qualifiers, Rangers have lost two of their last three home matches in European competition, one more than in their previous 23 at Ibrox (W16 D6).
When are the Europa League group stage games?
Matchday 1: September 16 2021
Matchday 2: September 30 2021
Matchday 3: October 21 2021
Matchday 4: November 4 2021
Matchday 5: November 25 2021
Matchday 6: December 9 2021
All the key Europa League dates
Round of 16: March 10 & 17 2022
Quarter-finals: April 7 & 14 2022
Semi-finals: April 28 & May 5 2022
Final: May 18 2022 (Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, Seville)