Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
The New Year has been and gone since the Champions League group stages last pitted the best club teams that the world has to offer against each other. And for both Lyon and Barcelona, it ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Since returning to their respective leagues, each has had a mixed bag of results and performances, with Barcelona suffering a series of draws and Lyon falling to Nice in another blow to their title aspirations.
Nonetheless, each side represents some of the best that France and Spain have to offer, meaning this will be as much a case of national pride as it is a battle between two top club teams.
Lyon vs Barcelona Prediction: Lyon 1-2 Barcelona
While it’s true that Lyon is one of the finest teams in Ligue 1, the fact is that as it stands right now, they are not the top dog in their league. Meanwhile, Barcelona – despite recent setbacks – stands atop the La Liga mountain by a considerable margin. The reason for this is a mixture of consistency and explosive offence that few teams in the world can match. When you combine that with the big tournament experience Barcelona have, they come out with a clear edge over the ever-impressive Lyon. However, their opponents are far from pushovers, meaning we think this one will come down to the wire, with Barcelona edging out a 2-1 victory in the end.
Our recommended tip: Barcelona win
The bookmakers are predicting a Barcelona victory here, with the odds being very much in the Spanish side’s favour. The away side are heading into this competition with a 54% win probability compared to Lyon’s 22% win probability. Therefore, backing the favourites to victory makes for a safe bet. For example, online bookmaker BetBright is advertising 10/3 match odds on Lyon compared to the much lower-risk 4/5 odds on a Barcelona win. With that in mind, our recommended tip is to put your money behind the team at the top of La Liga.
Unfortunately for those looking for wisdom from past encounters to predict the outcome here, the last time these two met was a little under a decade ago back in March 2009. Therefore, you can’t reasonably give it the same level of significance as if it took place with similar lineups. However, that may be a good thing for Lyon, as they lost that match 5-2, with the match before going to a 1-1 draw.
Similar scenes occurred during the 2007 Champions League. Lyon fended Barcelona off 2-2 in the second outing but were already 3-0 down after the first. History appears to be very much on Barcelona’s side.
Top 3 Champions League Bookies
Players to watch: Nabil Fekir & Lionel Messi
Lyon: Nabil Fekir
There’s a good chance that this will come down to a battle of offensive prowess – not entirely, but at least as the major point of contention. In that case, the best person to fight fire with fire for Lyon is the brilliant Nabil Fekir. Just like Messi did for Barcelona, he secured victory in his team’s last outing and has proven to be their most valuable goalscorer back in the national leagues.
Barcelona: Lionel Messi
If it’s a battle of offensive power, there’s one obvious choice for player to watch, and that’s Barcelona’s premier goalscorer Lionel Messi. He was the difference maker via penalty in their most recent outing against Valladolid and did the double to save them from defeat against Valencia at the start of this month. This may be an obvious pick, but there’s no other honest choice for who we think will most likely turn this game in Barcelona’s favour.