After a disappointing 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad in Anoeta, Barcelona will return home to face former European champion PSV Eidhoven on the first day of the Champions League.
Ernesto Valverde made enough rotations against Real Sociedad, which negatively affected the team, but the first team is expected to be in top form for the first game of the Champions League campaign, the Road to Madrid.
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Start expected XI (4-3-3):
Sergi Roberto should return to his usual right-back position after moving to midfield to accommodate Nélson Semedo against Real Sociedad. With the importance of the game, Jordi Alba can not rest in favor of Thomas Vermaelen or Juan Miranda.
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The central-back pairing should start once more, after enjoying a long break during the international period. Sergio Busquets should be back in the first team, with Ivan Rakitić taking his usual place on the right side of the midfield trio.
But due to his poor performance against La Real, Ousmane Dembélé should be discarded in favor of Philippe Coutinho, who shined after coming as substitute. Arturo Vidal should replace Rafinha in midfield, in the usual role of Coutinho.
At the top, Luis Suárez selects himself while Lionel Messi is irreplaceable in the starting lineup. Malcom could be in line for his Champions League debut, along with Arthur, who could get a first European continental football state.
In case of a comfortable advantage, even Munir or Rafinha could enter, giving a break to aging Latin American superstars Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal. PSV Eindhoven is not the strongest side, but they have a strong impact with players like Hirving Lozano and Luuk de Jong.
• Barça have won their group in each of the last 11 seasons, and have reached at least the quarterfinals in those UEFA Champions League campaigns, both competition records. In 2017/18, they succumbed to a remarkable comeback Rome in the last eight games, coming out despite a 4-1 home win at home after losing 3-0 in the return leg of Rome.
• That defeat in Rome put an end to Barcelona’s unbeaten ten-game UEFA Champions League (W6 D4) match.
• Barcelona are unbeaten in 26 UEFA Champions League home games, a run that began in September 2013 (W24 D2). They have won all their local group games in the last five editions.
• The last matches of the Spanish team against the Eredivisie opposition took place in 2014/15, when they defeated Ajax twice in the group stage (3-1 at home, 2-0 away).
• The Eindhoven club won their 24th Dutch league title in 2017/18, the third time in four seasons that they have lifted the Eredivisie crown.
• This is the sixteenth season of PSV in the group stage, more than any other Dutch team. They qualified by defeating Belarusian champion BATE Borisov 6-2 on aggregate in the play-offs (3-2 out, 3-0 at home).
• The first leg at BATE ended a ten-game losing streak without a European win away from home for PSV (D4 L6).
• Winners of the European Cup in 1988, PSV have reached the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League only four times, the last time in 2015/16, when they reached the last 16.
• The Eindhoven club could not win a game in their last appearance in the group, in 2016/17 (D2 L4) and has not won in their last eight UEFA Champions League games, group stage at the end (D4 L4) .
• His last away win in the UEFA Champions League was a 1-0 success at CSKA Moskva in November 2007. His record since then is D3 L7.
• PSV’s European campaign 2017/18 only lasted one draw: they lost 1-0 at home and outside the Croatian club Osijek in the third UEFA Europa League qualifying round.
• The PSV record in Spain is W0 D5 L9. At home and away from home, they have not won since the 3-2 loss to Deportivo La Coruña in December 2003; his record since then is D3 L5, the most recent defeat at home (0-1) and outside (2-0) against Atletico Madrid in the group stage of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League.