Champions League: Lyon facing early exit
LONDON, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon, crushingly dominant in France in recent years yet regularly frustrated in the Champions League, could fail to even get out of the group stage if they lose at home to Barcelona on Tuesday.
Top of their domestic league, where they are chasing a seventh successive title, Lyon are scrambling in Europe having lost their opening two Group E games to Barcelona and Rangers.
Home and away wins over German champions VfB Stuttgart have revived hopes and victories over the Spaniards on Tuesday and in Glasgow next month would complete the comeback and send them through to the knockout stage for the fifth successive season.
If they lose again to Barcelona, though, and Rangers beat Stuttgart, they are out.
'Our fate is in our own hands but Barcelona are certainly not easy opponents,' said Lyon's Brazilian midfielder Juninho.
Lyon's chances have not been helped by an injury that threatens the involvement of 19-year-old Karim Benzema, Ligue 1's top scorer with 11 goals.
Barcelona, who need only a draw to ensure their progress, will be without injured striker Thierry Henry but have a pretty decent replacement in the shape of Ronaldinho, who missed Saturday's 3-0 league win over Recreativo Huelva.
PSV Eindhoven are another side struggling to reproduce their European form of recent seasons and are facing early elimination from Group G.
They need a victory at CSKA Moscow to stay in the hunt while Inter Milan or their visitors Fenerbahce are certain to go through from the group stage with a win.
Manchester United, the only team with maximum points, will clinch top spot in Group F with a home win over Sporting - a result that would see AS Roma through with a draw at Dynamo Kiev, who have not won in their last 11 Champions League games.
Arsenal have already qualified from Group H but face a tough trip to second-placed Sevilla who need a victory to guarantee joining them in the knockout phase. Slavia Prague must win at Steaua Bucharest to maintain any hope of qualifying.