PREVIEW – FC Barcelona

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The day has arrived that everyone has been waiting for: the return leg of the quarterfinals of the Champions League. After the victory in the Theatre of Dreams (0-1), FC Barcelona will seek to qualify for the semi-finals. Most of Ernesto Valverde’s XI were rested at Huesca last weekend, whilst Manchester United won their league game against West Ham (2-1) before traveling to Barcelona.How to follow the game liveThe game kicks off at 9.00pm CEST. A list of broadcasters can be found here and these are the timetables for the rest of the world.When and where FC Barcelona – Manchester UnitedFortress Camp NouFC Barcelona have not lost at home in the Champions League since 2013. Since then, the Catalans are unbeaten in European competition, and the Camp Nou faithful have experienced some magical European nights in recent years. They include the comeback against PSG (6-1) in 2017 and against Milan (4-0) in 2013. A full Camp Nou is expected, ready to roar the team to victory.Leo Messi, ‘on fire’ vs English teamsLeo Messi has scored a total of 22 goals against English teams in the 30 games he has played against them. Arsenal are his favourite victim, with a total of nine goals, while he’s scored two goals in the five games he has played against Manchester United – both in Champions League finals (2009 and 2011). The rivalTop Scorer: Paul Pogba (13)Coach: Ole Gunnar SolksjaerEx-blaugranes in the team: Alexis SánchezPremier League record (2018/19): P33 W19 D7 L7Current form#1 Barça D W W D W W#5 Man Utd W L L W L LInteresting stats/facts- Manchester United have never beaten FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou.- On three of their four visits to the stadium in European competition, the Red Devils failed to score (0-0 in 07/08, 4-0 in 94/95 and 2-0 in 83/84).- Ninety percent of Manchester United’s goals in this season’s Champions League have come away from Old Trafford.The squadErnesto Valverde called up a total of 18 players for this match. They are: Ter Stegen, N. Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Coutinho, Arthur, Suárez, Messi, O. Dembélé, Cillessen, Malcom, Lenglet, Jordi Alba, S. Roberto, Vidal, Umtiti and Aleñá. Rafinha and Vermaelen are injured, while Todibo, Murillo and Boateng are left out via technical decision. Further, Carles Aleñá will continue to wear the No.26 until the end of the competition.Leo Messi in training (15-04-19)Coaches’ commentsValverde was keen to stress the danger of switching off at any point in the match. “Man Utd have won two away games in the last few minutes and we must be alert, must play our game and take the game to our opponent,” he said, adding: “We are aware of the potential of Manchester United, and we have to close the spaces so that they don’t have options. If they have space, they are a very strong team”Ole Gunnar Solksjaer looked to the last round for inspiration. “That memory of PSG will help the players,” Solskjaer told reporters. “Us, as a team, we know we can turn things around. Barcelona is a difficult prospect. PSG isn’t that long ago and we are one goal better off now.”
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