Barcelona host Borussia Monchengladbach at Nou Camp on Tuesday night as the penultimate match of the UEFA Champions League group stages.
Barcelona come into the match on the back of a performance worthy of a win against Real Madrid in the El Clasico over the weekend, a thought echoed by their manager Luis Enrique. Despite the performance, the 1-1 draw meant that Barcelona were unable to close the gap between themselves and Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.
Borussia Monchengladbach, on the other hand, suffered a heavy 4-1 drubbing away to local rivals Borussia Dortmund, a loss that sees the side stranded at a measly 13th on the Bundesliga table, a huge contrast to their previous campaigns.
Barcelona have already confirmed the top spot in their group and Luis Enrique could provide some youngsters with the opportunity to shine as he aims to rest his key stars for the weekend match-up against Osasuna. Gladbach, on the other hand, face a daunting task of attempting to not only beat Barcelona, but by a handsome margin in order to have any hopes of securing qualification to the knockout stages, else, they face the prospect of playing in the Europa League.
The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Jeremy Mathieu remains the only player sidelined for the Tuesday fixture due to injury while Neymar and Ivan Rakitic are set to miss the match due to suspension. The match is, perhaps, a dead rubber, of sorts, with Barcelona already securing the first place in the group. Thus, the manager may be motivated to give the youngsters and players other than the first eleven a run in into the side.
Luis Enrique might hand Ter-Stegen a rest and start Jasper Cillessen in his stead, for a change. Elsewhere, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne are likely to handed starts in the defence while Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez could come into the starting eleven in the middle of the pitch.
All eyes will be on whether Luis Enrique chooses to rest the likes of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi and give someone like Paco Alcacer a chance, who is yet to put in a noteworthy performance since achieving a summer transfer to the defending La Liga champions.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Cillessen; Sergi Roberto, Mascherano, Umtiti, Digne; Denis Suarez, Busquets, Gomes; Arda Turan, Paco Alcacer, Messi
The visiting side has a host of injury issues to take care of. Alvaro Dominguez, Mamadou Doucoure and Patrick Herrmann are all sidelined due to injuries while Lars Stindl is suspended for the game with Andre Hahn most likely to take the captain’s spot.
Marvin Schulz and Ibrahima Traore are doubts for the game, which seems almost like a dead rubber for Gladbach as well. The visitors are 3 points behind Manchester City and not only do they have to beat Barcelona on Tuesday at Nou Camp, but by a handsome margin, to have any hopes of qualification into the next phase of the UEFA Champions League.
Andre Schubert has deployed both 4-men and 3-men defensive formations in the recent matches this season and it would be interesting to see if he persists with the 3-man defence after the 4-1 demolition away to Borussia Dortmund over the weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sommer; Elvedi, Christensen, Vestergaard, Fabian Johnson; Dahoud, Strobl; Ibrahima Traore, Hazard, Oscar Wendt; Raffael
1. Barcelona have scored 2 or more goals in 19 of their last 23 UEFA Champions League matches.
2. Luis Suarez has scored 8 goals in his last 8 games.
3. There have been at least 3 or more goals in a match involving Borussia Monchengladbach in 9 out of their last 11 games in the Champions League.
4. Barcelona have won 18 of their last 22 matches in the competition.
5. Barcelona’s Champions League matches is yet to see a match with no first half goals.
Barcelona 3 – 2 Borussia Monchengladbach
While Luis Enrique would love to rest his key stars, the manager knows well enough, that, after a draw at Nou Camp over the weekend, the players and the home fans both require a win to boost their spirits, something which could make Enrique deploy a much stronger lineup than anticipated.
Borussia have been potent while going forward and even though they are likely to trouble the home defence, Barcelona might just nick it by a narrow margin.
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