Barcelona – Benfica (21.00)
The azulgranas, who play the qualification against Benfica, have only scored two goals in the four games of the Champions League
- Group E This is the classification
Tired of journalists inviting him to imagine a scenario in which Barcelona would be left out of the knockout stages of the Champions League 21 years later (Serra Ferrer he was the coach and Joan Gaspart President), Xavi Hernndez, with the firm verbiage that characterizes him, he wanted to settle it as soon as possible. But this has not happened. You tell me about a very negative hypothesis. Why do I have to answer that? I don’t contemplate it. I am very positive. Very much. I envision winning. It’s my illusion and Benfica will only take it away from me if we don’t win. But now, let me dream.
The situation is simple. And raw. If Bara beats Benfica de Jorge Jesus -one point down in the table, but 3-0 in the first round at Da Luz- will ensure qualification for the second round. If he draws or loses, he will play it in Munich against Bayern already in the round of 16, but knowing that the Portuguese receive the limited Dinamo Kiev on the last day in Lisbon. What will be the preamble to a sporting and economic cataclysm (20.2 million euros for not reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League).
Of all the problems that Barcelona has to solve in order to be something like a reliable team, that of the goal is perhaps the most worrying. His figures are striking, especially in Europe, where he has only been able to score two goals in the four games played. Both against the same rival, the bottom Dinamo, an opponent who has started the six points of his group. The first was marked by a central, Gerard piqu, after a second play spawned after a corner. The second, Ansu Fati, thanks to a center Mingueza in Kiev badly rejected by a defender. Nothing else.
Four clubs equal or worse
Up to 27 teams have scored more than Barcelona in this group stage. There are only four clubs that are the same or worse. And they all agree that they are bottom in their groups: Besiktas (two goals), Shakhtar (one), Dynamo Kiev (zero) and Malm (zero). Teams such as Bayern (17 goals), Manchester City (15), Ajax (14) or Liverpool (13) are now light years away.
There are even 15 players in this Champions League who have scored more goals than all of this Barcelona. Among them stands out, of course, Lewandowski (Eight). But also Haller (seven), the Ajax franco-parade, Cristiano Ronaldo (five) with stormy Manchester United, or himself Messi, who has already taken three goals in his three continental games played with PSG.
There is a goal in the squad. I have no doubts, Xavi stirred on the eve of today’s great duel. Although nuance: But the second line has to help us. Not only the pure forwards have to score.
And perhaps there is no other left in a team in which Memphis, Barcelona’s top scorer this season (seven), is the only reliable striker in full physical condition. Ansu Fati, his immediate pursuer with four goals, is in the nurse with Braithwaite (two and Agero (one), pending this to make known his future before his heart problems. While Luuk de Jong, the specialist theorist, seems to have exhausted his credit.
Effectiveness, an alibi used for weeks by the fired Ronald Koeman, It has not been the great problem of this Barcelona in the Champions League, but the scarce generation of chances. In fact, Barcelona has barely shot on goal 39 times in the tournament (24th place in the ranking), below the other four Spanish teams in the running: Atltico (41), Sevilla (46), Villarreal (55) and Real Madrid (78). Where Bara has stood out is in the centers in the area (86), being the fifth team in the competition that has resorted to it the most. Although without footballers to finish them off.
Xavi’s solution has nothing to do with the bombing of the area without rhyme or reason, but with a greater production of the interiors. Although in order for them to find spaces to break through, the new Barça coach needs to have wingers that open the field.
Hence, Xavi refused to rule out tonight’s duel Ousmane Dembl, unable to untie himself from the stretcher and who Sergi Barjuan already forced on Kiev before it fell again. Of not being able to recover the French, with Sergio Dest penalizing his low back pain, and given the impossibility of summoning the youth squad who exercised extreme in the derby –Ilias carries a Youth League sanction and Abde is not registered in the Champions League-, it would be time to experiment with Gavi, Demir or Coutinho. Yes, again. The present oppresses.
Reference from elmundo