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Champions League Matchweek 6 preview: FC Barcelona vs. Juventus FC (21:00h. CET) - Team news, lineups

Barcelona will be looking to secure first position in Group G when they welcome Italian champions Juventus to Camp Nou in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Both sides have already booked their spot in the last-16 stage of the competition, while Barca have a three-point cushion over second-placed Juve, meaning that the Old Lady have serious work to do if they are to snatch first position from Ronald Koeman's side on the final matchday.

Match preview

Barca's Champions League form this season has been excellent, winning all five of their Group G fixtures with an aggregate score of 16-2 to comfortably book their spot in the knockout round of the competition.

The Catalan giants are very much in charge of first position in the section and will only give up top spot to Juve if they lose by three goals or more, or by any two-goal margin other than 2-0.

Koeman's side recorded home wins over Ferencvaros and Dynamo Kiev either side of an impressive 2-0 victory away to Juve, before making it four from four with a 4-0 success against Dynamo on November 24.

Barca were again impressive away to Ferencvaros last week, recording a 3-0 victory to continue their 100% record in this season's competition, and it will be fascinating to see how far the La Liga giants can progress as last term's 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich must still be in the back of their minds.

For all of the team's European success this term, it has been a different story in La Liga, where they have picked up just 14 points from 10 matches to sit down in seventh. Koeman's side lost 2-1 at Cadiz on Saturday and are worryingly 12 points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid on the same number of matches.

Barca will be desperate to address their stuttering form in the coming weeks, but they have a tricky game against high-flying Real Sociedad on December 16 before a potential banana skin at home to Valencia.

Koeman must have known that he was taking on a very difficult job at Camp Nou, and it seems increasingly likely that Lionel Messi will be leaving the club on a free transfer next summer, with both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City thought to be firmly in the hunt.

Barca have actually not lost in the group stages of the Champions League since the 2016-17 season, winning 19 of their 25 matches following the defeat to Manchester City. The Catalan side are unbeaten in their last 38 home matches in the European competition, meanwhile, and will certainly be looking to record a morale-boosting victory over the Italian champions on Tuesday night.

Juve, as mentioned, are also already through to the next round, having picked up 12 points from their five group matches courtesy of four wins and one defeat.

The Old Lady will have to come up with a special result to secure first position, but they did beat Dynamo 3-0 at home last week and are certainly capable of running up a big score against their inconsistent hosts.

Juve have reached the last-16 stage of the European Cup in 18 of their previous 21 Champions League group-stage campaigns, but they have only lifted the trophy on two occasions - in 1985 and 1996 - and have incredibly lost seven of their nine European Cup finals, including each of the last five.

The Bianconeri have been so incredibly dominant in Italian football - winning each of the last nine Serie A titles - but it would be fair to say that the Champions League is now the priority for the club.

Andrea Pirlo's side have been far from their best in Serie A this season, though, picking up just 20 points from their 10 matches to sit third in the table behind AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Torino almost held Juve to a draw on Saturday, only for Leonardo Bonucci to come up with an 89th-minute winner for the Old Lady, who will continue their domestic season away to Genoa on December 13.

Cristiano Ronaldo missed out on the chance to face Barca in the return match due to a positive coronavirus test, but the Portuguese, who has found the back of the net on 10 occasions in nine appearances this season, should be in the Italian side's starting XI on Tuesday night.

Juve have actually been victorious in four of their last five away European matches and have won five of their last eight matches against Spanish opposition. Barca ran out 3-0 winners, though, when they last locked horns at Camp Nou in the group stage of the 2017-18 Champions League.

Barcelona Champions League form: LWWWWW
Barcelona form (all competitions): WLWWWL

Juventus Champions League form: WWLWWW
Juventus form (all competitions): DWWDWW

Team News

Barca revealed on Sunday afternoon that Ousmane Dembele had picked up another hamstring problem against Cadiz, meaning that the France international is facing an extended period on the sidelines.

Dembele joins Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto on the treatment table, while Samuel Umtiti is again expected to miss out due to ongoing knee problems.

Despite already booking their spot in the round of 16, Koeman is expected to select a strong side on Tuesday, with Messi, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann likely to start.

There could be a change at the back with fit-again Ronald Araujo replacing Oscar Mingueza, while Pedri and Miralem Pjanic are pushing for spots in the starting side.

As for Juve, Merih Demiral, Giorgio Chiellini and Gianluigi Buffon remain on the sidelines through injury, but Alvaro Morata is available as his suspension only relates to domestic matches.

Morata is likely to join Ronaldo as part of a front two at Camp Nou, meaning that Paulo Dybala could drop to the bench, with Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski operating in the wide areas.

Pirlo has decisions to make in the middle of the park with Aaron Ramsey and Weston McKennie both pushing for starts, but Adrien Rabiot could line up alongside Rodrigo Bentancur.

Arthur left Barca to join the Old Lady last summer, but the Brazil international is likely to be on the bench.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Pjanic, De Jong; Pedri, Messi, Coutinho; Griezmann

Juventus possible starting lineup:
Szczesny; Cuadrado, Bonucci, De Ligt, Sandro; Kulusevski, Rabiot, Bentancur, Chiesa; Morata, Ronaldo

Head To Head

Tuesday's clash will be the 13th meeting between the two sides, and Barca lead the head-to-head record five wins to Juve's three, with the other three matches being drawn.

Barca ran out 3-0 winners in their last clash at Camp Nou in September 2017, while Juve have not recorded a victory away to the Catalan giants since the quarter-finals of the 2002-03 competition.

The most high-profile meeting between the two sides came in the 2015 Champions League final, which ended in a 3-1 Barca victory courtesy of goals from Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Source: Sports Mole / Matt Law 

 

 

 

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