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Barcelona vs SSC Napoli Match Preview: Team News, Possible XIs, Score Prediction and Match Facts

Everything you need to know ahead of the match between Barcelona and Napoli at the Camp Nou.

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Header Image by Filippo Monteforte / AFP via Getty Images

An eternity later, the Champions League is back at the Camp Nou on Saturday night. Here’s the preview of the match between Barcelona and Napoli in the second leg of the last 16 of the European contest.


Date and kick-off time: Saturday 8 August 2020, 21:00 CET

Stadium: Camp Nou, Barcelona

Competition: UEFA Champions League, Round of 16, second leg

Referee: Cüneyt Çakır


The Champions League is officially back, and it comes with 16 days of absolute chaos. Four teams have already played their return leg in the Round of 16, four more are yet to do so, while others will head into the quarter-final to take part in single-leg fixtures.

Manchester City increased their lead against record champions Real Madrid, while Juventus couldn’t overturn Olympique Lyonnais’ 1–0 edge at the Allianz Stadium. After City and Lyon qualified into the next stage on Friday, more fun is expected on Saturday night. Bayern Munich will hope for another field day as they welcome Chelsea to the Allianz Arena with their 3–0 advantage. The last of these return legs features Barcelona taking on Napoli at the Camp Nou after the teams were deadlocked for a 1–1 draw at the Stadio San Paolo in Naples.

It may sound like a menial task for the blaugranas, who are undefeated at the Camp Nou in the Champions League since 2013. However, the team is probably at an all-time low in terms of morale after a disastrous end to their campaign. This includes them being dethroned as La Liga holders, selling one of their best midfielders, Arthur Melo, in what has been an incredibly controversial saga, Lionel Messi subtly lashing out at the board, and finally, an incredible undefeated run at the home ground in the league which came to an end by the hands of Osasuna in the last home game of the season. Additionally, there have been rumours floating around regarding the future of Quique Setién, which will depend on the team’s performance in the Champions League.

What to expect from Barcelona?

It would be fair to say that there is probably a no better time to visit the Camp Nou for the opposition. There are too many underlying issues in the structure of the club which seem to mirror themselves on the pitch. The fortress has already been compromised, and consequently, Barcelona look rattled.

Quique Setién has tried one too many team set-ups, which is fair since the Spanish manager joined in January and did not get enough time to come up with his best structure. This was also visible in the first leg, where Arturo Vidal was fielded as the right-winger. Barça cannot afford to make the same mistake again. The player he picks will be pivotal to Barcelona’s future in the competition and his in the club. 

“We have come to the Napoli game prepared. I think the break has helped us rest and prepare for a big game”

Clément Lenglet

Nevertheless, we foresee a more cautious approach from Barcelona, who conceded 11 fouls in the first leg. This is because Lionel Messi, Nélson Semedo and Antoine Griezmann are all on the risk of suspension and could miss the quarter-finals.  

Even so, if their game against Deportivo Alavés on the last matchday of the season is anything to go by, we know that the club is more than capable of playing attacking football with an intent to demolish. The club has a point to prove, and we should expect nothing less than that.

What to expect from Napoli?

Napoli were clever to exploit Barcelona’s major weakness under Setién, i.e. defend with a low block. Gennaro Gattuso overcrowded the midfield with the help of his wingers who dropped deep to form a five-man layer in the centre of the park.

We should expect more of the same tomorrow, especially since they will be visiting Camp Nou where Barça are a more significant threat. They will look to sit back and wait possession out or press heavily in the midfield, which will lead to turnovers and then counter-attacks. Napoli boast of one of the quickest frontlines in world football and will not hesitate to break free every time they get a chance. 

Dries Mertens Lorenzo Insigne Napoli Barcelona match preview

If Napoli score first at the Camp Nou again, they will put Barcelona into great trouble | Photo by Michael Steele via Getty Images

Additionally, Gattuso will hope to milk the most out of Fabián Ruiz whose ability to carry the ball out of pressure situations will come in handy against the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Riqui Puig and Antoine Griezmann. Furthermore, we can also expect their midfield to go crashing into challenges to help win back the ball, especially in the absence of Sergio Busquets and Vidal.

Form

Barcelona

Last five games: WLWWW

Deportivo Alavés 0–5 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1–2 Osasuna | La Liga
Real Valladolid 0–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1–0 Espnayol | La Liga
Villarreal 1–4 Barcelona | La Liga

“Roma and Liverpool? We are not thinking about that”

Sergio Busquets

Position in La Liga

2nd 
82 points in 38 games
25 wins, 7 draws and 6 losses
86 Goals Scored, 38 Goals Conceded
+48 Goal Difference

Napoli

Last five games: WLWLW

Napoli 3–1 Lazio | Serie A
Inter 2–0 Napoli | Serie A
Napoli 2–0 Sassuolo | Serie A
Parma 2–1 Napoli | Serie A
Napoli 2–1 Udinese | Serie A

Position in the Serie A

7th 
62 points in 38 games
18 wins, 8 draws and 12 losses
61 Goals Scored, 50 Goals Conceded
+11 Goal Difference

Dries Mertens Lorenzo Insigne Napoli Barcelona match preview

Napoli finished 7th in the Serie A, but the mood changes for the Champions League | Photo by Francesco Pecoraro via Getty Images

Match Facts

• Napoli are undefeated in the Champions League this season. They have won three games and drawn four

• Barcelona and Napoli have only met five times previously, out of which only one has been an official game. The record stands 3–1–1 in favour of Barça

• Gennaro Gattuso and Quique Setien have crosses paths only thrice previously. Out of the three games, two have been draws, and the current Barcelona gaffer has won one. 

Team News and Possible Line-ups

Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Ousmane Dembélé (hamstring)
Suspended: Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal

Possible XI

4–3–1–2
Ter Stegen
Semedo · Piqué · Lenglet · Jordi Alba
De Jong · Rakitić · RiquiPuig
Messi
Griezmann · Suárez
Coach: Quique Setién

Napoli

Absences

Injured: Nikola Maksimović, Konstantinos Manolas
Suspended: None

Insigne did 50 percent of the training on Thursday and today [Friday] he did 100 percent, but it will be his decision along with me and the doctors”

Gennaro Gattuso

Possible XI

4–3–3
Ospina
Hysaj · Di Lorenzo · Koulibaly · Mário Rui
Fabián Ruiz · Demme · Zieliński
Callejón · Mertens · Insigne

Prediction

It is hard not to be pessimistic about this fixture, especially with everything going inside the club and on the pitch. In the recent past, we have seen that Barcelona crumble under pressure, even though it is scanty. And we should not be fooled by the top-notch display by the players against Deportivo Alavés; like Messi said, “We had no pressure on us today”

That said, thanks to the aforementioned genius, Barcelona will go into this game as favourites. A show awaits us. The writer’s prediction: a 2–1 win for the Garnet and the Blue.


Our Social Media channels:
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Simple guy, who enjoys the simple things in life: music, football, cooking, and dogs. Part-time violinist, full time Barcelona faithful.

Match Previews

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich Match Preview

Hariharan Balaji

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Header Image by Matthias Hangst / Bongarts via Getty Images

As Barça land in Lisbon for the last stretch of the Champions League, they intend to stay till the end and bring home the trophy. But they face the first hurdle of three, in the form of German champions. Here’s the preview of the match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich.


Date and kick-off time: Friday 14 August 2020, 20:00 CET

Stadium: Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon, Portugal

Competition: UEFA Champions League, quarter-finals

Referee: Damir Skomina


Overview

The Champions League has never been this open, and with just three victories, any of the six remaining teams –– four quarter-finalists and two semi-finalists –– could be champions. With all clubs camped up in Portugal and a game every other day, the following week would probably be the most enjoyable one in 2020 for the footballing fraternity. With a bracket of the semi-finalists already decided, it’s time for battle towards the remaining two spots.

As Antoine Griezmann mentioned on landing in Lisbon, the team has packed for till August 23rd, and they expect to go all the way. Several Barça players have given the opinion on this year’s unpredictability, and they fancy themselves lifting the cup for the sixth time. While the mood in the squad has been considerably high after winning the Napoli tie, the Catalans enter this game as the underdogs

“I have my suitcased packed as if we are staying until the 23rd August. I brought my PlayStation and everything”

Antoine Griezmann

Bayern Munich have been daunting throughout the year and come into the game with a winning streak of 18 matches. Despite the shaky start to the campaign in Bundesliga, they racked up points after Hans-Dieter Flick’s appointment and won the league, handsomely yet again. Right after the end of the Bundesliga season, they moved aside Bayer Leverkusen with ease in the DFB Pokal final. With two trophies in the bag, three teams stand between them and their second treble. 

Barcelona, on the other hand, have had a subdued season. Having already been knocked out of the Copa del Rey, they lost to Real Madrid in the La Liga race too, after dropping crucial points post lockdown. The problems transpired during the season have become uncountable now. The only way to end the season on a high and prevent going trophyless is to win the coveted Champions League by any means. But, first, the Bavarians. 

What to expect from Barcelona?

Barça’s major struggle throughout this season have come against teams imposing low blocks. With the squad deficient in many positions, they have struggled immensely to unlock deep defences without proper wingers or runners off the ball. Fortunately, Bayern are far from the teams deploying tight defences. But, unfortunately, they are a high pressing side, and Barça have squandered games to those in recent Champions League history. 

The lack of width upfront has been taken care of by advancing full-backs for the whole campaign. But, while positioning Jordi Alba and Nélson Semedo / Sergi Roberto high up the pitch might pin back their wing play, the Bavarians are too quick on the transition for the Barça centre-backs. Quique Setién must figure out a way to play out of the press and find Lionel Messi and the attackers in constant one-on-ones against the Bayern centre-backs. 

Sergio Busquets Lionel Messi Gerard Piqué Barcelona Bayern match preview

Barça want a similar type of performance to the one that saw them beat Bayern by 3–0 in 2015 to get them closer to the Champions League final | Photo by Pierre-Philippe Marcou / AFP via Getty Images

While the pace and might of the Germans might be threatening, Barça are no slouches on their day. An early goal might jumpstart things for the blaugranas as they have in many games this season. If they find a way to control the tempo of the game, and the attackers have their shooting boots on, Barça do have a sizeable chance. 

“Bayern are playing very well, they have a great striker, but we also have the tools to play a great game. We have to look at our strengths and try to qualify”

Antoine Griezmann

Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal are back from suspension and will slot straight back into the midfield alongside in-form Frenkie de Jong. Quique Setién has confirmed the availability of Ousmane Dembélé, with the Frenchman capable of featuring for a few minutes if need be. Messi, Griezmann and Semedo are clear of the risk of suspension, with the yellow cards from the previous rounds wiped off.

What to expect from Bayern Munich?

Bayern’s season did not start well according to their plans. They struggled to dominate games, much similar to Barcelona. Senior players like Thomas Müller did not seem to fit into Niko Kovač’s system, and the team was in shambles. A defeat to Frankfurt finally put the nail in his coffin, and Hansi Flick got the reins. And, thus began the reign of the German tactician. In a few games, he got the squad up and running. And in no time, they were back up in the top of the Bundesliga.

In the last 27 competitive games, they have won 26 and have drawn the one. Such dominance, in such a short period, must be lauded as Flick got the well-deserved permanent job. Die Roten ran through the inexperienced Chelsea in the round of 16 ties, smashing seven past the Londoners. But they probably face their most tenacious opponent all season in Barcelona, despite being the overwhelming favourites coming into the game. 

“Bayern are always favourites, but Barça is the best in the world, so it will be very even. Bayern are confident but they should know that they won’t be playing against a Bundesliga team”

Arturo Vidal

With excellent off-pitch work, they have assembled an excellent squad with the perfect blend of experience and youth. With Robert Lewandowski firing on all cylinders, they have been dominating every game. Very capable of breaking defences, Bayern rely heavily on their quality fullbacks to overload the flanks. The wingers and Müller either move in between the lines or make runs in behind. And the midfielders and centre-backs are more than capable of finding them. 

While the two central defenders may not be the most physically dominating players, the team presses as a unit to recycle possession. Although in some cases, they get caught during counter-attacks from the opposition. The electric pace of Alphonso Davies comes to rescue as he tracks back with a purpose to tackle or intercept. While Benjamin Pavard is injured and ruled out, Joshua Kimmich fills in at right-back and ex-Barça player Thiago Alcântara fills the midfield spot. Sensations coming into the game have been great, and the Bavarians would be hungry to extend their winning run.

Form

FC Barcelona

Last 5 games: WWLWW

Barcelona 3–1 Napoli | UEFA Champions League
Deportivo Alavés 0–5 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1–2 Osasuna | La Liga
Real Valladolid 0–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1–0 Espanyol | La Liga

“We know it will be difficult, but we know what we have to do to qualify for the semi-finals. It will be a very good match”

Antoine Griezmann

Position in La Liga

2nd 
82 points in 38 games
25 wins, 7 draws and 6 losses
86 Goals Scored, 38 Goals Conceded
+48 Goal Difference

Bayern Munich

Last 5 games: WWWWW

Bayern Munich 4–1 Chelsea | UEFA Champions League
Bayer Leverkusen 2–4 Bayern Munich | DFB Pokal Final
Wolfsburg 0–4 Bayern Munich | Bundesliga
Bayern Munich 3–1 Freiburg | Bundesliga
Werder Bremen 0–1 Bayern Munich | Bundesliga

Position in Bundesliga

1st
82 points in 34 games
26 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses
100 Goals Scored, 32 Goals Conceded
+68 Goal Difference

Head-to-head record

Last 5 meetings

Bayern Munich 3–2 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League, 2014/15
Barcelona 3–0 Bayern Munich | UEFA Champions League, 2014/15
Bayern Munich 2–0 Barcelona | Friendly, 2013/14
Barcelona 0–3 Bayern Munich | UEFA Champions League, 2012/13
Bayern Munich 4–0 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League, 2012/13


Match facts

• Bayern have won their last 8 matches in the Champions League

• Barcelona are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the 13th-straight season

• Bayern Munich have won their last 18 games in all competitions

• Barcelona are undefeated in their last 8 Champions League matches


Team news and possible line-ups

FC Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee)
Unavailable: Arthur Melo, Martin Braithwaite

Possible line-up

4–4–2
Ter Stegen
Semedo · Piqué · Lenglet · Jordi Alba
Roberto · Arturo Vidal · Busquets · De Jong
Messi · Suárez
Coach: Quique Setién

Joshua Kimmich Bayern Barcelona match preview

Benjamin Pavard’s injury may force Joshua Kimmich to play at right-back again | Photo by Adam Pretty via Getty Images

Bayern Munich

Absences

Injured: Benjamin Pavard
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

4–2–3–1
Manuel Neuer
Kimmich · Boateng· Alaba · Davies
Thiago · Goretzka
Gnabry · Müller · Perišić
Lewandowski
Coach: Hansi Dieter Flick

Prediction

There has not been a game in recent history where Barcelona were underdogs coming into the clash. The last two debacles in the Champions League have pushed the fans and pundits to undermine the Catalans. But, they have the right opportunity to not only silence their critics but to erase all the nightmarish memories from the past two seasons. The writer’s prediction for the game: 2–2 and into the penalties. It’s anyone’s game from there.


Our Social Media channels:
@BarcaUniversal, Barça A team coverage
@BUlamasia, La Masia coverage
@femeniBU, Barça Femení coverage

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