Competition Focus

FC Barcelona Vs. Porto Champions League Preview: Four Lineup Changes

FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez will make at least four lineup changes on Wednesday when his men take on Porto away in the Champions League.

The Blaugrana have traveled to the northern Portuguese city with a 100% record in the competition thus far.

But after starting their campaign with a 5-0 win over Royal Antwerp, the Catalans should encounter a more difficult test at the Estadio do Dragao.

In light of two back-to-back failures to qualify out of the group, and their trophy cabinet missing the iconic big-eared piece of silverware since 2015 when he was captain, Xavi has demanded that the club of his life lays the ‘ghosts of the Champions League to rest’.

Mundo Deportivo also sees the fixture as an opportunity for Barca to “overcome their traumas”, in what will be a “litmus test” in front of 50,000 fans.

The daily newspaper further notes that it has been almost a full three years since the visitors won a difficult away trip of note in UEFA’sEFA elite tournament.

On October 28, 2020 they beat Juventus 0-2 in Turin, in a season that brought their last successful passage to the knockout phase.

In the last 16, however, they were swiftly eliminated by PSG through losing 4-1 at Camp Nou and then holding the previous term’s finalists to a 1-1 draw in the French capital.

Xavi claimed his charges “have more experience” now and have “taken a step forward in the game”, with his starting XI this evening a healthy mix of young and veteran blood.

Starting from the goal, Marc-Andre ter Stegen will look to keep his second clean sheet in a row in all competitions and a second in this one until now.

He is helped in this endeavour by Alejandro Balde and Joao Cancelo at left and right back, with a central pairing of Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo as the Uruguayan comes in for Andreas Christensen.

In midfield, Oriol Romeu reclaims his starting berth as pivot behind a blossoming Gavi and Ilkay Gundogan.

Up top, with Raphinha injured last time out against Sevilla, it is Lamine Yamal and not Ferran Torres on the right side of striker Robert Lewandowski.

Capable of sticking the knife into an opposition which rejected him as a youngster prompting a move to Benfica, Joao Felix is Xavi’s left winger.

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