After a terrible start, a struggling Barcelona side target a win over Dynamo Kyiv to get their Champions League campaign back on track.
Barcelona have been struggling on and off the pitch since the start of the season. Financial turmoil at the club seems to have affected the fans, player performances on the pitch, and it’s not helping results. The Blaugrana have struggled on all fronts, lacking style, substance and have been getting beaten easily these days.
Their glory days seem like a distant memory due to the bad results this season alone, as they languish in a difficult spot in their Champions League group while holding a half-decent 7th place in La Liga. Their weekend victory over Valencia keeps them in the hunt for the domestic title, as they remain five points off the top with a game in hand.
In the Champions League, however, Barcelona have been abysmal. Losing 3-0 at Camp Nou to Bayern Munich could have been expected, although losing with the same scoreline to Benfica was surely not on the cards. The Portuguese side controlled and took apart Ronald Koeman’s side during the last matchday.
That defeat leaves them with no points heading into Matchday 3, as Koeman will look to secure all three points against Dynamo Kyiv, without which their hopes of qualifying into the next round might seem bleak. Likewise, playing in the Europa League will be catastrophic at best, while the same goes with no European football at all.
Their visitors, Dynamo Kyiv, are searching for their first victory of this Champions League campaign. Having drawn against Benfica on the first matchday, they were thoroughly routed by Bayern Munich 5-1 in the next game. They sit one point over their opponents Barcelona in the third courtesy of the single point earned.
On the domestic front, Dynamo Kyiv remain unbeaten in their league and sit on top of the table. Their closest rivals are Shakhtar Donetsk, who are only three points behind them. A convincing victory in their lastest league clash came against PFK Lviv will have boosted their confidence before facing Barcelona.
However, in recent fixtures, Kyiv have had less success against Barcelona. The Ukrainians are on a four-game losing run, with the latest coming in last season’s champions league, losing both their clashes. They would certainly like to make amends, although it is going to be easier said than done.
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Ronald Koeman has struggled to get his team selection right all season, and against Kyiv, he might not want to tinker too much with the team that won over the weekend. So the Dutch manager could retain the same lineup barring Eric Garcia, who remains suspended following his sending off against Benfica.
There are other possible absentees for Koeman to be without against Kyiv. Key midfielder Pedri is certainly out, while Martin Braithwaite and Ronald Araujo are considerable doubts to feature. Ousmane Dembele, however, could be in the frame to feature, probably as a substitute.
Sergio Aguero, who played got some minutes at the weekend, could also be in the matchday squad, although it’s unlikely he’ll feature from the start. Meanwhile, Ansu Fati, who has been in sensational form since returning from his long-term injury, should retain his place in the team.
As Garcia and Araujo are absentees, the chance for Clement Lenglet could open up to feature from the start alongside Gerard Pique. Sergi Roberto will keep his place at right-back, with Jordi Alba now available.
Sergino Dest, who has impressed in the front-three, will keep his place there. Barring any last-minute changes, it would be a similar lineup to the one that won against Valencia.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Roberto, Lenglet, Pique, Alba; de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dest, Depay, Fati
Mircea Lucescu has plenty of injury troubles to contend with. Ibrahim Kargbo, Vladyslav Kulach, Artem Besedin, Denys Popov and Vladyslav Supriaga are big doubts for the Barcelona clash. Supriaga featured in their weekend win, although he had to come off in the first half, casting doubts over his involvement.
After scoring an impressive brace in that game, Denys Garmash, who replaced Supriaga off the bench, will likely lead the line. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Ilya Zabarnyi will be hoping for a chance to impress again after a terrible game against Bayern. He should be back, lining up in central defence, alongside Artem Shabanov.
Lucescu will likely keep the shape of his team with a 4-2-3-1 expected to be the style against Barcelona’s 4-3-3. The manager will hope to take advantage of Barcelona’s recent misfortunes and heap more pressure on their scrutinised manager.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Boyko; Tymchyk, Zabarnyi, Shabanov, Mykolenko; Sydorchuk, Shaparenko; Tsygankov, Buyalskiy, de Pena; Garmash
- Barcelona have failed to win their last five matches in the Champions League.
- Barcelona have won their previous four matches against Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League.
- Barcelona have scored at least two goals in those last four games against Dynamo Kyiv.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 7 of Barcelona’s last nine games in the Champions League.
- Barcelona are yet to score a goal or collect a point in this season’s Champions League while conceding six strikes in their first two games.
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— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 19, 2021
The Dutchman started life brightly with the Spanish side but is yet to kick into gear in the Champions League, as the whole team as a collective have failed to get anything so far. This could be Depay’s chance to show the home fans what he is capable of, particularly when the team is under tremendous pressure and needs a win desperately.
Barcelona surely needs an inspiring, experienced figure in front of goal to get them out of their European slump. They have lost the last four games in the competition, and Depay could be the man to fire them away against Kyiv and get their campaign started.
Barcelona 2-0 Dynamo Kyiv
The Blaugrana are clear favourites unless something dramatic is to happen on the pitch. Kyiv will surely be looking to hurt their opponents and pile more pressure on their manager. However, Barcelona’s win at the weekend might have given Koeman a formula to beat their visitors in the Champions League.
The pressure is truly on Barcelona to deliver three points this week, or they face the prospect of not qualifying for the next round. There is an expectation from Bayern Munich to beat Benfica, and if Barcelona get three points on board, it will open up the group in favour of the La Liga side.