Ex-Rennes winger Dembele warned: "They're a team with very good players and it's very hard to win there".
'We are strong at home but there's no denying that 0-0 away from home is a unsafe first leg result.
Barca and Lyon are two of the five teams to have reached this season's knockout phase unbeaten. The World Cup victor scored the goal that gave them a 1-1 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk in their last group game to take them through, but a booking a few minutes later means he is suspended here.
"He is capable of being decisive and often performs very well in these games, but being a team is also about coping with absences and having players who can take his place".
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Lyon continued their top form in Ligue 1 as they won their previous match 2-1.
Coach Ernesto Valverde has played down the significance of his side's recent slack displays.
With Fekir absent, Lyon will be relying on the flicks and tricks of Dutch forward Memphis Depay and French-Algerian youngster Houssem Aouar to poke a hole through Barcelona's defence.
"If I see my team miss a lot of chances, it annoys me", the coach added.
In the first half, it was a well placed penalty with his shot hitting the side of the goal and going in. September 2015 was the last time he scored away from home in the Champions League - which is suprising for a goalscorer of his ilk.
"When we played Roma everyone said they were a weak opponent, which did not help us". The Blaugrana will hope to win a knockout game on the road for the first time since 2016, ending a five-game victory drought.