Barcelona will look to get over the ghost of their recent outing against Rayo Vallecano, as they prepare to take on FC Porto in their penultimate UEFA Champions League group stage match at home on Tuesday, November 28.
It must be remembered that the Portuguese team lost 0-1 to Barcelona in their first meeting this season, but a lot has changed since. To begin with, the Blaugrana have won just four of their last eight matches, losing twice and drawing as many.
In fact, in their last Champions League outing, the team from Catalonia gave away the chance to qualify for the knockouts, losing 0-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk.
So as the Porto game looms, there are fears over ticket allocations, but beyond that, anything but a win would guarantee them a place in the round of 16.
Barcelona might once again find themselves without Marc-Andre ter Stegen against Porto.
The German sat out the previous encounter against Rayo Vallecano due to a back problem and did not participate in the main group training on Sunday, although, as reported before, the veteran goalkeeper is willing to do everything in his power to return to action.
Furthermore, Gavi is certain to miss the tie after being ruled out for the rest of the season. On the other hand, there is a possibility that the experienced Sergi Roberto could be included in the squad following his recovery from a calf issue.
Meanwhile, Porto are set to be without the services of Samuel, Ivan Marcano, Wendell, and Ivan Jaime, all sidelined due to injuries. In the most optimistic scenario, Samuel may only find a place on the bench.
Additionally, the participation of former Real Madrid defender Pepe hangs in the balance. However, there is a chance he could be in the starting lineup if the results of the tests he is scheduled to undergo tomorrow turn out positive.
Stats are perfectly in the favour of the home team since Barcelona have never lost against a Portuguese opponent at home. Furthermore, as far as Porto are concerned, they have lost each of their last three games against Barcelona in the Champions League.
These stats, however, do not reflect the bigger picture as Barcelona’s recent run of form has been a thing of worry. Porto, on the other hand, are coming on the back of three consecutive wins.
At best, we expect a narrow, 2-1 win for Barcelona.