There is no doubt Barcelona face a steep road in their quest to reach the UEFA Champions League semifinals. After dropping the first leg of their quarterfinal tie against Juventus, Luis Enrique’s men need to bounce back quickly. The 0-3 loss means they have their backs against the wall. However, we already saw this Blaugrana team coming back from an 0-4 deficit to defeat PSG in the previous round. The second leg of this tie against The Old Lady will be played on Wednesday at Camp Nou Stadium.
Aleix Vidal and Rafinha have been ruled out due to injury. Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu and Arda Turan are doubtful. Sergio Busquets will return to the starting XI after missing last week’s game with a suspension. Neymar will be available as well, because his suspension only counts for LaLiga matches.
The Soccer News team has prepared a predicted line-up and formation Barcelona are expected to field this Wednesday.
Despite having a subpar performance in the first leg, Marc-Andre ter Stegen will maintain his place between the posts. The German goalkeeper is Luis Enrique’s top choice, and he is not going to change him in a game where Barcelona will have everything on the line.
The biggest doubt lies on the defensive tactic, as we are not sure whether Barcelona will play with a three-man or a four-man backline. Reports suggest Luis Enrique will use three centre backs, and if that is true then Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique are the best bets to start.
The midfield zone will feature four players, although Busquets will deploy in a more defensive role in front of the defensive trio. He will be in charge of containing Paulo Dybala, who scored a brace during the first leg. His return should give Barcelona a massive boost defensively.
In front of Busquets, Sergi Roberto will move on the right and he will have two roles: attack when given the chance, but also close out the spaces for Alex Sandro and Mario Mandzukic defensively. Ivan Rakitic will play in a more central role, while Andres Iniesta will likely move on the left. Iniesta’s case should be pretty interesting, as he will operate as a playmaker but will move away from his usual central role. Chances are he will have enough creative freedom to move all over the final third.
There is no question on which players will lead the attacking line. Lionel Messi will play on the right, Neymar will feature on the left, and Luis Suarez will be between them. Arda Turan and Paco Alcacer will likely be available on the bench. However, Luis Enrique is not going to change his attacking strategy in such a pivotal contest.
And who could blame him? After all, Messi leads the Champions League in scoring with 11 goals, and Neymar leads the assists department with eight. Suarez has not produced much during the current European campaign (three goals and three assists) but Juventus can’t take him for granted.
Will they be enough to lead Barcelona to another miracle? That remains to be seen.
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