Posted on November 26, 2007
Barcelona will be without Thierry Henry as they go to Lyon in search of the win they need to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Henry will miss Tuesday’s Group E clash with a back problem that surfaced during Barca’s 3-0 win over Recreativo Huelva at the weekend.
The Frenchman has spearheaded the Catalans’ attack this season in the absence of Samuel Eto’o, who has been injured for much of the campaign, and the flurry of games – combined with his international commitments – looks to have taken its toll.
Eto’o is back in training, but is still not match fit and was not part of the squad that travelled to the Loire region.
Coach Frank Rijkaard may therefore choose to play Eidur Gudjohnsen up front, although 17-year-old Bojan Krkic is also pushing for a first-team place after scoring the second goal of the match at the weekend.
“Things have been going well for me lately, and this motivates me to keep working,” said Krkic.
“Henry has been helping me a lot and I really appreciate it. It’s important that there is understanding between us.”
Centre-back Lilian Thuram, another player rested at the weekend, is included while Carles Puyol travels having recovered from a blow to the ribs.
Defender Oleguer Presas (hamstring) has stayed back in Spain and his fitness will be monitored closely over the next few days.
Barca know a win, over even a point, will guarantee them a place in the next round. A victory will ensure they top the group, no matter what second-placed Rangers do in their final two games.
Lyon are a point behind the Scots, who play Stuttgart away on Tuesday.
If Rangers win and Lyon lose, Les Gones will be eliminated.
The reigning six-time French champions are set to be without in-form striker Karim Benzema on Tuesday.
The France international, who is earning admiring glances from a number of leading European clubs thanks to his superb start to the season, injured his quadricep against Rennes on Saturday and is a major doubt.
“If the match was being played on Wednesday, it would be possible,” club advisor Bernard Lacombe said on Lyon’s website www.olweb.fr.
“But for Tuesday, it seems very, very doubtful.”
The player himself said of his injury: “It still hurts but I hope to be able to play on Tuesday evening.”
Benzema has been named in Alain Perrin’s 20-man squad for the game, and his fitness will be watched, but fellow striker Milan Baros (knee) is still out.
Brazil striker Fred, recently returned from a broken foot, will start if Benzema is out.
Midfielder Fabio Santos and centre-back Cleber Anderson are back after missing the 2-0 win at Rennes because of suspension.
Goalkeeper Gregory Coupet and centre-back Cris (both knee) are out.
Lyon are searching for their third straight group win after beating Stuttgart twice over the past month.