The Champions League is back! Barcelona play Napoli on Saturday with the score set at 1-1 after the first leg.
That first leg in Naples was a tight affair, but Barcelona’s away goal could prove crucial. The winners will face the winners of Bayern vs Chelsea – likely the former, as they hold a 3-0 lead going into their own second leg.
After disappointing league campaigns for both sides – Barça surrendering the title and Napoli finishing all the way down in seventh – they’ll be putting a lot of emphasis on the Champions League to turn their seasons around.
oth Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal will miss the game through suspension, while Ousmane Dembele (fitness) and Samuel Umtiti (knee) are both out. Clement Lenglet (groin) and Antoine Griezmann (thigh) are also doubts, but they are both expected to start.
Napoli’s only confirmed absentee is Kostas Manolas (ribs), but Nikola Maksimovic (ankle) and Lorenzo Insigne (adductors) are both doubtful.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Rakitic, De Jong; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann.
Napoli: Ospina; Hysaj, Di Lorenzo, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Fabian Ruiz, Demme, Zielinski; Callejon Mertens, Insigne.
Barcelona have been pretty disappointing since the restart, surrendering the lead in La Liga to finish a full five points behind champions Real Madrid. Los Cules did end their season with a 5-0 dismantling of Alaves though, so that’s…something.
Napoli have had a generally underwhelming season too, with poor form at the start of the season seeing Carlo Ancelotti sacked. However, Gennaro Gattuso steadied the ship somewhat and won the Coppa Italia just after football’s return, restoring some pride to Naples.
Here’s how each side has fared in their last five outings.
Alaves 0-5 Barcelona (19/07)
Barcelona 1-2 Osasuna (16/07)
Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona (11/07)
Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol (08/07)
Villarreal 1-4 Barcelona (05/07)
Napoli 3-1 Lazio (01/08)
Inter 2-0 Napoli (28/07)
Napoli 2-0 Sassuolo (25/07)
Parma 2-1 Napoli (22/07)
Napoli 2-1 Udinese (19/07)