Barcelona will hope to continue their winning form as they travel to Budapest to take on Ferencvaros in gameweek 5 of the UEFA Champions League.
Date and kick-off time: Wednesday, December the 2nd, 2020, 21:00 CET
Stadium: Groupama Arena
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Round 5
Referee: Alksei Kulbakov
It has been a season of two halves for Barcelona, who have been high-sailing in the UEFA Champions League for the most part, but have failed to replicate the same in the La Liga. Proof of the same is their 100% winning streak in the UCL, where they have scored 13 goals in five games, conceding just two. On the other hand, their four wins in Europe directly mirrors their wins in the league, despite playing nine games.
Thankfully, though, Barcelona qualified for the Round of 16 in the UCL quite comfortably after a 4-0 win against Dynamo Kyiv, where they came knocking at all fronts. Martin Braithwaite, Sergiño Dest, and Antoine Griezmann etched their name on the scoresheet as the absence of Lionel Messi was hardly felt.
They will have the chance to replicate that performance yet again as Ronald Koeman has not called up Messi for this fixture. Not to mention, Philippe Coutinho and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are also missing from the squad list.
Barcelona’s last outing against Ferencvaros was lathered with goals, with the hosts firing on all cylinders. The game boasted of five different scorers as Messi ran the show with a goal and an assist. Coutinho, Ansu Fati, Pedri, and Ousmane Dembele also came through with their name on the scoresheet.
All said and done, it will still be an uphill task for Barcelona, who are missing several key players for this game, other than the ones Koeman has excluded for technical reasons. Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo, Samuel Umtiti are all missing from the heart of the defence, while Clement Lenglet is a huge doubt, even though he has somehow made it to the squad list.
What to expect from Barcelona?
If Ronald Koeman’s starting XI against Kyiv is anything to go by, fans should be ready for multiple changes to the lineup. No Lionel Messi automatically means that the burden as the prime creative and goalscoring outlet will fall on the shoulders of Antoine Griezmann, who has been in tremendous form, scoring four goals and setting up two others for his teammates.
At long last, Griezmann looks like he is adapting to the club. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)
That said, the exclusion of Philippe Coutinho signals that Koeman might give a chance to Fransisco Trincao to shine with his second start in the Garnet and Blue. Ousmane Dembele came on against Osasuna for an impressive cameo, and will likely be seen on the left-wing. Martin Braithwaite completes the attack as the centre-forward in the front-four.
Oscar Minguez and Clement Lenglet are the only two centre-halves named in the squad list. Still, the latter picked up an ankle injury on the weekend, so his involvement in the game will be precautionary if anything. Frenkie de Jong will partner Mingueza in the heart of the defence. Sergiño Dest and Junior Firpo will be given the responsibility to add width from the back, while Neto guards the posts.
Finally, Miralem Pjanic, who has been on the fringes thus far this season will be given the job to hold the fort for the Catalan giants alongside Sergio Busquets in the double pivot.
What to expect from Ferencvaros?
Barcelona and Ferencvaros faced each other for the first time in the Champions League this season after 43 years. The clash did not quite end the way the Hungarians would have wanted to, but as it stands, they are in a tussle with Dynamo Kyiv over the third-place, which will see them drop to the Europa League.
Serhiy Rebrov has structured his team in three different ways in four games this thus far in the Champions league, and while difficult to predict, the essence of each of it lies in a 4-3-3. It is fair to expect him to field his players in the same lineup once again, with Ihor Kharatin as the deepest of the three midfielders, essentially acting as the third centre-back.
Marcel Heister and Gergo Lovrencsics will flank the defence as wingbacks who will join the counter to make the setup a 3-4-3 from a 5-4-1 in defence. The multi-talented Somalia will partner David Siger in the midfield. Tokmac Nguen will hope to give the Barcelona defence a run for their money again, as he leads the line with Oleksandr Zubkov and Myrto Uzuni acting as the right and left-wingers respectively.
Player to watch
Nguen will constantly run at the Barcelona defence and will win a handful of set-pieces as well. (Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP)
While an attacking or wide midfielder at heart, Tokmac Nguen was deployed as a centre-forward against Barcelona in their last outing against each other. It was a huge experiment by Rebrov, but it paid off as the Norwegian continually ploughed daggers through the heart of the Barcelona defence.
Although his electric pace will be taken care of much better by Frenkie de Jong and Oscar Mingueza, he still has the potential to trouble Barcelona on the counter, especially once their fullbacks completely commit themselves on the counter.
Previous games: WWLWW
Barcelona 4-0 Osasuna | La Liga
Dynamo Kyiv 0–4 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League
Atletico Madrid 1–0 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 5–2 Real Betis | La Liga
Barcelona 2–1 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League
Position in UCL
12 points in 4 games
4 wins, 0 draws and 0 losses
13 Goals Scored, 2 Goals Conceded
+11 Goal Difference
Previous games: WWWLW
Ferencvaros 3-0 Mezokovesd Zsory | NB 1
Bicskei TC 0-5 Ferencvaros | Magyar Cup
Budapest Honved 0-1 Ferencvaros | NB 1
Juventus 2-1 Ferencvaros | UEFA Champions League
Ferencvaros 2-0 MTK Budapest | NB 1
Position in UCL
1 point in 4 games
0 wins, 1 draw, 3 losses
5 Goals Scored, 13 Goals Conceded
-8 Goal Difference
Last 5 meetings
Barcelona 5-1 Ferencvaros | UEFA Champions League
Barcelona 3–0 Ferencváros | Friendly
Barcelona 2–2 Ferencváros | Friendly
Barcelona 3–3 Ferencváros | Friendly
Barcelona 4–0 Ferencváros | Friendly
- Barcelona are undefeated in their last five meetings against Ferencvaros in all competitions.
- Barcelona and Ferencvaros met each other in an official competition for the first time in their respective history.
- Barcelona have scored 14 goals in their last five matches in all competitions, conceding just 4.
- Barcelona are unbeaten in 10 of their last 11 games in the Champions League.
- Martin Braithwaite scored a brace in his first game ever in the Champions League against Dynamo Kyiv.
Team news and possible line-ups
Lovrencsics · Blazic · Kharatin · Frimpong · Heister
Uzuni · Somalia · Siger · Zubkov
Coach: Serhiy Rebrov
Injured: Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti,
Rested/Dropped: Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho, Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Dest · Mingueza · de Jong · Firpo
Pjanic · Busquets
Trincao · Griezmann · Dembele
Coach: Ronald Koeman
If the last two games has taught us anything it is that Barcelona, at least this season can survive without Lionel Messi on the field. Antoine Griezmann is on a pretty impressive streak, which was visible against Osasuna as he let loose an absolute belter from outside the box. It will also be a chance to test Oscar Mingueza again, who has caught the eye of Barcelona fans in his first two outings.
Barça Universal Prediction: 0-3 win for the the visitors.