Moussa Dembélé, the scorer became eurosceptic

On November 27, Moussa Dembélé still has not scored in the Champions League, here on the lawn of Zénith Saint-Petersburg.
On November 27, Moussa Dembélé still has not scored in the Champions League, here on the lawn of Zénith Saint-Petersburg. ANTON VAGANOV / REUTERS

A short shaven head, dyed bright blond, which propels the ball deep into the net, five meters from the goalkeeper Donetsk, following a service of the former Lyon captain Nabil Fekir. This is the fleeting memory of the last goal scored on 2 October 2018 in the Champions League by Moussa Dembélé, who has since changed his hair style. The only one in eleven European matches under the jersey of OL, including seven tenure.

To remember, do not have the memory failing and have a subscription to the paying broadcaster of the competition, since the match against the Ukrainians was disputed behind closed doors. Before receiving Leizpig, Tuesday, December 10, the scorer has not recurred for fourteen months, a week and a day.

Almost 600 minutes (597 exactly) without scoring in the most prestigious cups in Europe, the statistics are really amazing. Especially for a 23-year-old who is used to stacking goals since his professional debut in 2015, made in Fulham in the Championship, the second English division, then at Celtic Glasgow, Scotland, between 2016 and 2018.

The Lyonnais (3es Group G, with 7 points) will need the sense of goal of their center forward: in case of victory against the Germans (1st, 10 points), they will be sure to finish first in the group and join the 8es final. In case of draw, to snatch the second qualifying place, it will be necessary to pray that in the other meeting of the Benfica group dominates St. Petersburg.

Fourteen months without a goal in the Champions League

This season, Dembélée cultivates paradoxes. The tough, comfortable head and huge presence in the penalty area, scored 10 goals in 15 games in Ligue 1. He is the second best scorer in a unit of Monegasque Wissam Ben Yedder, even he did not shine Friday, December 6 in Nîmes despite the wide success (4-0).

In Lyon since the summer of 2018, he is already 30 goals in 66 games (all competitions). Over the calendar year, he scored 21 times in 35 appearances, including only 22 from the kickoff.

A fortnight ago, before facing the Zénith Saint-Petersburg, in front of whom the barren series continued, the player trained at PSG, rather silent with the press, had returned to this scarcity. "I do not put pressure on myself, I helped the team in previous matches, I do not worry, when the opportunity arises, I will know how to seize"he had confided.

The world's first big-name scorer to play at OL (1999 to 2003) under President Jean-Michel Aulas, Brazil's Sonny Anderson is still keeping a close eye on a club that he helped raise to the highest level. level. The BeIN Sport consultant relativizes the desert crossing of his distant successor: "I also had moments when I did not score in the Champions League and I scored in the league, and vice versa. The state of mind, the game and the stakes are not the same in both competitions. "

The last goal of Moussa Dembélé was registered on November 23 in Ligue 1: a penalty converted against Nice.
The last goal of Moussa Dembélé was registered on November 23 in Ligue 1: a penalty converted against Nice. EMMANUEL FOUDROT / REUTERS

Whoever scored 15 goals in 30 meetings of the Champions League in his career, with OL but also Barça, raises a tactical and collective problem. Not easy to conclude actions that do not exist.

"Apart from the win in Leipzig in the first leg and even if they beat Benfica, Lyon did not make other good matches. Some players want to be individually in the Champions League. This forgetting of the collective penalizes you when you are center forward, argues "Sonnygoal". Dembele does not have many opportunities. In addition, OL plays with inverted wingmen, left-handed on the right, right-handed on the left. Laterals change often and have no automatisms with him. Ferland Mendy, gone to Real, the most comfortable offensively, was not replaced. But he needs centers. The system does not match it. "

A resounding double with Celtic against Manchester City

Moussa Dembélé did not discover the Champions League when arriving in the Rhone. In the Celtic jersey, he had scored four times in ten group games, not counting four other goals scored in preliminary rounds.

On September 28, 2016, his double against Manchester City, in a draw 3-3, had revealed to the eyes of the European public. Especially during his second goal, where he controlled the knee before performing a half-turn to resume half-volley ball. On November 22, 2017, he also scored the fastest goal in Celtic history in the Champions League, after just 56 seconds of play against PSG. That did not stop the heavy loss of the Scottish club 7-1.

"It is rather surprising that Dembélé scored only one goal with Lyon in the Champions League, if we take into account his past success in this competition with Celtic. He had scored three times in six games in 2016, which is a good ratio in a team that finished last in his group, recognizes James Cairney, journalist for the Scottish daily The Herald. This shows that he has the ability to cause trouble to the best European clubs and is a confirmed scorer at this level. "

According to Cairney, the difference lies in the importance that Moussa Dembélé had in the game of the Scottish champions (since 2012). "At Celtic, he was the center of attention of the attack and he received a lot of services. He has always converted his opportunities in major events, during the derbies against the Rangers, in the European Cup or final Cupadds, admiringly, the reporter. Whenever Celtic has been under pressure, he has always been able to score a decisive goal. "

This is timely. Never for years perhaps Olympique Lyonnais has been so much under pressure as when it received Leipzig. The right moment for him to find the taste of Europe and propel his club towards the 8es of the Champions League. And especially to avoid an even deeper crisis.


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