Barcelona will lock horns against a depleted Dynamo Kyiv side in a Group G encounter in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

La Liga heavyweights Barcelona will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome Ukrainian outfit Dynamo Kyiv to Camp Nou on Wednesday night in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League.

Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona side were held to a 1-1 draw by Deportivo Alaves in La Liga this past weekend. And the Dutchman will be hoping that his team react strongly to that result, with a winning performance in Europe. The Catalans have been impressive in the Champions League so far having beaten Ferencvaros (5-1) and Juventus (2-0) to sit atop the table.

Dynamo Kyiv travel to Barcelona with a severely depleted squad after several players tested positive for coronavirus, making an already difficult task even more challenging. Mircea Lucescu’s side are third in the group, having lost to Juventus before playing out a 2-2 draw against Ferencvaros. They head into Wednesday’s game on the back of a 2-1 win over Dnipro in the Ukrainian league.

It could prove to be quite a one-sided affair at Camp Nou given the state of things within the Kyiv camp. And ahead of the contest, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Barcelona

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is back in contention for Barcelona. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Marc-Andre ter Stegen is back in contention for Barcelona. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The good news for Barcelona is that first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has recovered from his knee injury and is in contention to feature on Wednesday. However, Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti remain sidelined while Ronald Araujo is also a doubt for the fixture.

With Kyiv coming in with a weakened side, this game might provide Koeman with an opportunity to rotate his troops and afford some rest to key players such as Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba. So, we can expect a few alterations to be made by the Dutch tactician, although no change is expected in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

Ter Stegen could be in line to return to action on Wednesday, replacing Neto in goal. He should be shielded by the central defensive partnership of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet, while Sergino Dest gets the nod at right-back. Junior Firpo could be in line for a rare start on the left side of the Barcelona defence against Kyiv.

Frenkie de Jong is an ever-present in the centre of the park for the hosts and that is unlikely to change, even though someone like Carles Alena could benefit from some game time. Partnering the Dutchman in the double pivot should be summer signing Miralem Pjanic ahead of Sergio Busquets, who will be given a breather.

Messi has featured in every game so far this term and deserves a break. So, Pedri is likely to come into the side in the No. 10 role. The youngster is likely to be flanked by Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele, although Francisco Trincao is also an option for the manager. Antoine Griezmann, who scored at the weekend, will continue in the centre-forward slot.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): ter Stegen; Dest, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; Pjanic, de Jong; Dembele, Pedri, Fati; Griezmann

Dynamo Kyiv

As iterated earlier, Dynamo Kyiv have travelled to Barcelona with a severely depleted squad after a spate of players tested positive for coronavirus. Head coach Lucescu has said his side will only have 13 List A squad members available on Wednesday night. Less than that and the game would have been postponed as per UEFA rules.

Heorhiy Tsitaishvili, Denys Harmash, Mikkel Duelund, Oleksandr Karavayev, Tudor Baluta, and Mykola Shaparenko all tested positive on Sunday, joining Heorhiy Bushchan, Vitaliy Mykolenko and Denys Boyko, who had previously been confirmed as positive. Mykyta Burda and Volodymyr Kosteyvych are out injured whereas Serhiy Sydorchuk is suspended.

The visitors are likely to mirror Barcelona’s 4-2-3-1 formation on the night, with 18-year-old Ruslan Neshcheret set to start between the sticks. Tomasz Kedziora and Artem Shabanov are likely to slot in as the full-backs on the right and left sides respectively with 21-year-old Denys Popov and teenager Illya Zabarnyi pairing up at the centre.

Oleksandr Andriyevskyi ought to pair up with Volodymyr Shepelyev in the midfield double pivot and look to keep their Barcelona counterparts quiet. Vitaliy Buyalskyi, who has two goals and five assists so far this season, will slot in as the No. 10 and look to create chances for his attacking teammates.

Viktor Tshyankov, who was on the scoresheet against Dnipro at the weekend, should line up on the right flank, whereas Carlos de Pena could slot in on the left ahead of Benjamin Verbic. 20-year-old Vladyslav Supriaha ought to be the man spearheading the visitors’ attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Nescheret; Kedziora, Zabarnyi, Popov, Shabanov; Andriyevskyi, Shepelyev; Tshyankov, Buyalskyi, de Pena; Supriaha

Key Stats

  • This will be the 11th meeting between Barcelona and Dynamo Kyiv in European competitions. The Catalans have won six of the previous ten encounters (D1 L3).
  • Barcelona have won two of their previous three European Cup/UEFA Champions League games when hosting Dynamo Kyiv (L1), including the most recent such meeting in September 2009.
  • Dynamo Kyiv are without a win in their last 14 matches against Spanish opponents in European competitions (D7 L7).
  • Barcelona are unbeaten in their previous 22 games in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (W16 D6). A win on Wednesday would see the Blaugrana pick up five consecutive victories in the group stage of the competition for the first time since October 2017.
  • Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has scored 20 goals in his last 24 appearances for Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann time? (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

Griezmann time? (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

With Lionel Messi likely to be given a breather on Wednesday night, Antoine Griezmann will be the most senior Barcelona attacker taking the field and the onus will be on the Frenchman to step up and deliver the goods for his team. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner under new manager Koeman.

But this past weekend’s performance against Alaves ought to have boosted his confidence heading into the game against Dynamo Kyiv. So far in his Barcelona career, Griezmann has scored just two goals in the Champions League in ten matches – averaging a strike every 373 minutes. That is a damning stat which the 29-year-old will be eager to set right.

Prediction

Barcelona 3-0 Dynamo Kyiv

Given Dynamo Kyiv’s roster issues, there is only one way this match could go on Wednesday night. And even if Ronald Koeman opts to rest the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets keeping an eye on the weekend clash against Real Betis, Barcelona should still have enough quality to ease to a rather comfortable victory at Camp Nou.

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