FC Barcelona start their 2020/2021 Champions League campaign on Tuesday evening in Spain. Thankfully for them, while in a bad run of form, they will face arguably the easiest opposition of Group G – which also contains Juventus and Dynamo Kiev – in Ferencvaros.
The Camp Nou also their fortress in the competition, Barca have not lost there since 2013 on the continent, and Ronald Koeman believes that his team can use a tough moment – where they have drawn and lost their last two outings – to “get off on a good footing in the Champions League” ahead of El Clasico on Saturday.
“We must win all three points at home and this match is no different from others. It’s only the name of the opponent that changes, but we have to go match by match,” insisted the Dream Team legend, while also teasing that it was “possible” to see impressive 17-year-olds Ansu Fati and Pedri in his first XI.
That being said, Koeman is not expected to give both of them a starting debut in Europe just yet, in the 4-2-3-1 where he has found most success this year.
In goal, Neto will continue his assignment standing in for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who is still not ready to play after a knee operation.
At left back, new signing Sergino Dest likewise replaces Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique man central defence, and Swiss Army knife Sergi Roberto will be Barca’s right back.
In a bid to rest Sergio Busquets, Miralem Pjanic will finally begin a game for Koeman alongside Frenkie de Jong as a double pivot.
Up top, reigning UCL king Philippe Coutinho operates from central attacking midfield with Ansu Fati indeed getting the nod to his left as Antoine Griezmann attempts to reignite his club career on the right.
As a lone false 9, Lionel Messi sets out on what could be his last season in Blaugrana colors in his favorite competition.
Admitting that his skipper’s returns and performances “could be better”, Koeman also said yesterday that his team are not the big favorites to go all the way.
“You always play to win matches and titles, in Spain and in Europe, but there are more favorite teams, like us,” highlighted the hero of ‘92, when Koeman won the Catalans Ol’ Big Ears for the first time at Wembley against Sampdoria.
Source: Forbes – Business