FC Barcelona will face one of their toughest games of the season this Tuesday. Los Blaugranas are coming off an 0-2 loss to Malaga in La Liga this past weekend, but they will try to bounce back on the European stage. Luis Enrique’s boys will travel to Italy to take on Juventus, in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.
Barcelona will not be at full strength for this game thanks to the absence of Sergio Busquets, as the holding midfielder will miss this pivotal contest due to suspension. Aleix Vidal, Arda Turan and Rafinha are unavailable as well due to injury. In fact, Rafinha will miss the remainder of the season with a meniscus problem.
It is worth noting that Neymar will be available . Even though the Brazilian winger was sent off during the weekend against Malaga, he is eligible for UEFA Champions League action.
Luis Enrique decided to call the entire squad for this game, so Vidal, Turan and Busquets travelled to Italy even if they won’t be available for selection. Due to the aforementioned absences, however, Enrique was forced to include two youngsters (Carles Aleña and Alex Carbonell) on the trip.
The Soccer News team has prepared a predicted line-up and formation Barcelona are expected to field this Tuesday.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen will continue as the starting goalkeeper for this contest. The German international has established himself as the first option for Luis Enrique, while Jasper Cillessen will handle the backup duties.
The defensive line should be the one that has given Barcelona the most satisfactions this season. Sergi Roberto will slot at right back, and Jordi Alba will slot on the opposite flank. Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti are expected play at centre back.
The midfield zone is where things get a bit tricky for Barcelona. With Busquets suspended, either Javier Mascherano or Andre Gomes could be his replacement. Mascherano has far more experience, but Gomes would offer more quality going forward. Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic would operate a few meters in front of the defensive midfielder.
There is no question that Busquets’ absence will hamper Barcelona’s midfield zone, but Mascherano should be a capable replacement. The defensive midfielder role is the biggest doubt for Enrique, though. Either Mascherano, Gomes or Denis Suarez could start.
There are no doubts on who will start upfront. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar will man the attacking line, posing a huge threat on Juventus’ defensive line. Barcelona arguably have one of the best attacking trios in the world, and there are no questions they will play a big role in what Barcelona can do on Italian soil.
Messi currently leads the Champions League with 11 goals in seven appearances. Neymar has four goals, while Suarez has found the back of the net just three times.
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