Champions League is back once again, as Barcelona turn hosts this time. The Camp Nou welcomes the Ukrainian runner-ups Dynamo Kyiv for the third matchday of the season. Here’s the preview of the match between Barcelona and Dynamo Kyiv.
Date and kick-off time: Wednesday 4 November 2020, 21:00 CET
Stadium: Camp Nou
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Group Stage, Matchday 3
Referee: Michael Oliver
Barcelona return to action once again in the space of three days. The Catalans escape the winless run of La Liga to enter the winning stage of the UCL. The Champions League group G is perfectly poised for Barça to top the table. With two wins in two games, the Blaugranas have a three-point lead at the top with an adequate goal difference.
Ronald Koeman‘s side host a COVID-19 plagued Dynamo Kyiv side at the Camp Nou. The visitors have one point from the two games this season, drawing against Ferencváros by giving away a two-nil half-time lead. With almost nine players sidelined due to the Coronavirus infection, the Ukrainian side face an immense hurdle ahead.
The game was labelled a doubt till today has been given the clearance to go ahead as scheduled after the remaining squad of the capital outfit tested negative for the virus.
❗All the Kyiv players who took the PCR test today tested negative for coronavirus. The game will take place tomorrow. [rac1]— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) November 3, 2020
The hosts come into this game on the back of a draw away at Deportivo Alavés which ended a goal apiece. After an impressive performance in Turin, Culés expected the Catalans to get back to winning ways in La Liga. But, the lack of finishing touch and a moment of mishap cost the team the two more points. However, they will look to extend their winning run in this competition at least.
Image via Imago
The visitors come into this game on a winning note in their league. After going behind in the 22nd minute, Dynamo Kyiv scored twice before the half-time to complete the comeback. Despite their player absences, they remain unbeaten, and top of the Ukrainian Premier League. They will look forward to changing their fortunes in this tournament.
What to expect from Barcelona?
Every time Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona take a step forward, they seem to instantly move a step behind. After each of the two impressive wins in the Champions League, their returning game in the league was a disappointment. While creating chances has not been a big problem, converting them has been. Without a natural striker in place, there is no focal point in attack, and no one else takes shots positively.
“Our goal tomorrow is to play good football and create a good amount of chances with converting.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-match press conference
The lack of quality shots has been the reason for Barça’s less-than-impressive display against the underdogs who take their chances. None of the players boldly shoot and always look for a pass, even inside the box. This results in over-complication and the opponents crowding and reducing shooting angles. The Dutchman would want his team to have a go at goal, once in sight, to bring back the mojo.
Gerard Piqué is back in action after serving his suspension and will partner Clément Lenglet in defence. Jordi Alba will continue at left-back with Sergiño Dest back in the starting eleven. Marc-André ter Stegen is yet to get his medical green-light but is a possibility for the game. Young Pedri should be back in the eleven after sitting out last time with a chance to rest one or two senior players.
What to expect from Dynamo Kyiv?
Mircea Lucescu is one of the most experienced coaches in the UEFA Champions League. With over 100 matches under his belt, the Romanian is seasoned and currently the oldest to manage in the competition.
He took over the Ukrainian side only this summer, with no shortage of controversy. Lucescu’s former connection with rivals Shakhtar Donetsk caused outrage among the fans with him almost coming to the verge of resigning.
Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images
However, the club and the manager patched things up, and the 75-year-old has been there for almost six months now. One of the most decorated coaches in the country, Dynamo Kyiv would expect him to lead them to the summit again.
With the lack of personnel, it is quite difficult for the manager to implement his ideas. The team prefers to play short and quick passes but are not afraid to play one behind the opposition backline. A squad of relatively young players, they are one of the most exciting sides in the country. They are however prone to a few mistakes at the back which costed them during their last game in the UCL.
Previous games: DLWLD
Deportivo Alavés 1–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Juventus 0–2 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League
Barcelona 1–3 Real Madrid | La Liga
Barcelona 5–1 Ferencváros | UEFA Champions League
Getafe 1–0 Barcelona | La Liga
Position in La Liga
8 points in 6 games
2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses
10 Goals Scored, 6 Goals Conceded
+4 Goal Difference
FC Dynamo Kyiv
Previous games: WDWLW
SC Dnipro 1–2 Dynamo Kyiv | Ukrainian Premier League
Ferencváros 2–2 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League
Dynamo Kyiv 1–0 Olexandriya | Ukrainian Premier League
Dynamo Kyiv 0–2 Juventus | UEFA Champions League
Rukh Lviv 0–2 Dynamo Kyiv | Ukrainian Premier League
Position in Ukrainian Premier League
20 points in 8 games
6 wins, 2 draws and 0 loss
17 Goals Scored, 4 Goal Conceded
+13 Goal Difference
Dynamo Kyiv 1–2 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League 09/10
Barcelona 2–0 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League 09/10
Barcelona 4–1 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League 93/94
Dynamo Kyiv 3–1 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League 93/94
- Barcelona are undefeated in 21 of their last 23 matches (Champions League).
- Barcelona have scored at least 2 goals in 6 of their last 7 matches (Champions League).
- Dynamo Kyiv have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches (Champions League)
Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Philippe Coutinho (Hamstring)
Doubtful: Marc-André ter Stegen (Tendon)
Dest · Piqué · Lenglet · Alba
Pjanic · de Jong
Messi · Pedri · Fati
Coach: Ronald Koeman
🗣 — Koeman: “Ter Stegen trained with the group and he is feeling great. He will train with us tomorrow, and we will see if he can make the squad list or not.”— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) November 3, 2020
FC Dynamo Kyiv
Injured: Mykyta Burda, Volodymyr Kostevych
Suspended: Serhiy Sydorchuk
Unavailable: Mykola Shaparenko, Denys Boyko, Vitalii Mykolenko, Georgi Bushchan, Tudor Baluta, Heorhiy Giorgi Tsitaishvili, Oleksandr Karavaev, Denys Harmash, Mikkel Duelund
Tymchyk · Zabarnyi · Popov · Kedziora
Tsygankov · Andriyevskyi · Shepelev · Pena
Coach: Mircea Lucescu
With more than ten players missing for the visitors, it is understandably hard for them to come to the Camp Nou, and give a fight against Barça. However, knowing the veteran Mircea Lucescu, Dynamo Kyiv will give their best no matter what. For Barcelona, this game should be a chance to get back to winning ways and hopefully extend their lead at the top of the group.
Barça Universal Prediction: 4-1 win for the Catalans.
Predicted Barcelona lineup against Rayo Vallecano
As Barcelona’s financial and institutional problems deepen their roots, the only source of respite and reassurance could be the on-field performance. Over the last few games, Barcelona have seen a redemption. The midfield engine finally seems to be clicking with Frenkie de Jong and Pedri demonstrating their monstrous abilities.
The fitness boost to Ousmane Dembele and the suddenly renewed form of Antoine Griezmann can only mean good things for the side. The cherry on the cake? The return of Lionel Messi after his two-game suspension.
The Cup returns, this time with Rayo Vallecano on the cards. The second division side progressed in the previous round having seen of Primera side Elche in an impressive 2-0 win. They now face off against Ronald Koeman’s side.
The cup has been a difficult hunting ground for Spain’s elite. With Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid falling prey to surprise oppositions, Barcelona will have to vary of the same. It can be the Blaugranas‘ only saving grace this season. Here is how Barcelona could lineup against Rayo Vallecano:
As is tradition in the Copa del Rey, Marc Andre ter Stegen could get a deserved rest. Koeman will turn to Neto to don the gloves on the night.
Samuel Umtiti had a promising game against Elche. Going by the Frenchman’s performance, it would not be a surprise to see him start. Ronald Araujo will be the second player in central defence. Barcelona are yet to lose a game while the Uruguayan has started, and he will be looking to keep that record unbroken.
Sergino Dest has been ruled out of the Cup clash, and Sergi Roberto is yet to be given his all clear. All signs point to Oscar Mingueza being given a third successive game at right-back. The La Masia prospect has been solid in defence but has a lot to improve going forward.
Junior Firpo will get another start as the left-back on the night. Last time around, the youngster failed to grab his chance. It will be a crucial performance for him on a personal level, as he looks to attract suitors for the upcoming window.
On a night where Koeman will look to look to heavily rotate his side, one could expect a fresher and novel combination in the middle of the park.
Sergio Busquets could continue to start, however, given his suspension for the upcoming League clash. The Spaniard will look to dictate the play in the middle of the park on the night.
Riqui Puig could well make a start after his game-sealing goal against Elche. The youngster was at the centre of limelight in the weekend, scoring just minutes after coming on. His start will be highly anticipated
The midfield will be completed by Miralem Pjanic, who has been less involved so far than he would have hoped for. The Bosnian has only had the odd chance to display his worth. Every game for him is a battle to climb up the pecking order.
Ousmane Dembele has been heavily involved in the past few weeks, and resting him would be a wise choice. Luckily for the manager, young Konrad de la Fuente offers a very similar profile and can fit it perfectly against Rayo Vallecano. His maturity and agility on the ball could be an X factor for the Catalans.
Finally returning home through the middle will be Lionel Messi, after serving his two-game ban. On any other night in the cup, the Argentine would be rested. However, after missing the last two games, this would be the ideal chance for Koeman to get him back into match rhythm.
At right-wing would likely be Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman has had a resurgence of sorts and will be hoping to pull on the streak. Barcelona have struggled in the final third, and playing an experienced forward in Greizmann could be the difference on the night.
Konrad · Messi · Griezmann
Puig · Busquets · Pjanic
Firpo · Umtiti · Araujo · Mingueza
As in any knockout game, Koeman’s choices for substitutes will depend heavily on the scoreline
If Barcelona have a convincing lead, further rotations are very likely. This could include Ilaix Moriba for Sergio Busquets, Clement Lenglet for Ronald Araujo and Alex Collado for Antoine Griezmann.
However if his side trail, Koeman will once again turn to the difference makers on his bench. Pedri would be a certain option in such a scenario to replace Puig. Jordi Alba too can be called on replacing Junior Firpo.