Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele's Hamstring Injury Diagnosed as Strain

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMarch 9, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 09: Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at Camp Nou on March 09, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona confirmed on Saturday that forward Ousmane Dembele suffered a hamstring injury during Saturday's 3-1 La Liga victory over Rayo Vallecano.

A club statement announced the France international has "a slight hamstring strain in his left leg," and the club are yet to determine if he will be fit to face Lyon in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Dembele started the game on the bench for Barcelona at the Camp Nou. However, he arrived at half-time as a replacement for Arthur and played the whole of the second half.

The news will be a blow to Barcelona, as Dembele has enjoyed a strong second season with the Catalan giants after an injury-interrupted first campaign with the club:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Ousmane Dembele has this season scored in: ️⚽️ La Liga ️⚽️ Champions League ️⚽️ Super Cup ️⚽️ Copa Del Rey 🆕 The only Barca player to do so in 2018-19. https://t.co/2Kd70ZrPxs

He has 13 goals and eight assists for Barcelona in all competitions and has become a key part of their attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Dembele possesses electric pace, is a fine dribbler and is happy to go for goal with either foot:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Ousmane Dembélé has now scored as many first-team goals for club & country with his right foot as he has with his left foot. • 20 right-footed goals • 20 left-footed goals Perfectly balanced. ⚖️ https://t.co/aw05EDph1n

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told SER Catalunya (h/t Sam Marsden at ESPN FC) that Dembele is "better than Neymar."

Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta, who played with Dembele in his final season with the club, told Jan Platte at Goal that the French forward is a "genius" with his "witty playfulness, speed and determination."

La Liga showed his ability in possession:

LaLiga @LaLigaEN

Dembele up to his tricks! 🎩💫 #BarçaRealValladolid https://t.co/zbVDIVnki7

Barcelona do have options to replace Dembele if he fails to regain fitness in time for the visit of Lyon.

Philippe Coutinho is the most likely option, although the Brazilian is enduring a difficult first full season at Barcelona.

The former Liverpool man was whistled by supporters when he was replaced by Ivan Rakitic late on in Saturday's win over Rayo, per Pete Jenson for MailOnline.

Manager Ernesto Valverde could also turn to Malcom against Lyon. The Brazilian has been a bit-part player this season but scored in the group stages against Inter Milan and has the speed Coutinho lacks.

Barcelona's tie with Lyon is finely balanced after a goalless draw in the first leg in France.

The Catalan giants will need to go on the attack but will be wary of the visitors, particularly after seeing Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain dumped out of the tournament at the last-16 stage.