Competition Focus

Four Lineup Changes From Xavi


FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez will make four line up changes to his team that faces Napoli in a must-win Champions League last 16 second leg tie at the Montjuic Stadium on Tuesday.

During a pre-match press conference at the turn of the week, Xavi demanded that it is “time to turn the tables” in light of many a disappointment on the continent this decade.

“It’s the most important game of the season so far. We are ready and excited. It’s been four years since we’ve reached the quarter-finals. Competition is the key word,” he said.

“Our opponents are not going through their best moment, but they are still the reigning Serie A champions. We need the fans to experience another great night,” Xavi said.

“It’s time to turn the tables. It’s time to be able to reach the quarter-finals. It’s an opportunity, a game in front of our fans. We’ve got some absentees, but we have no excuses. We have to be brave. We are not afraid to fail, on the contrary, [but] we need to show that we have the level [to advance],” the manager urged.

As mentioned, there will be four changes from the side that beat Mallorca 1-0 at the same ground in La Liga on Friday.

The defense is almost identical, with de facto skipper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen having his goal protected by Joao Cancelo, a fresh Ronald Araujo who was rested and replaces Inigo Martinez, 17-year-old Pau Cubarsi, and Jules Kounde.

Usual center back Andreas Christensen continues as pivot behind Fermin Lopez, stepping in for Raphinha, and Ilkay Gundogan.

There is still a place for the Brazilian on the front line, though his right wing spot is allocated to its usual holder these days in Lamine Yamal, who netted the only goal of the game last time out.

Marc Guiu is axed and makes way for Robert Lewandowski, who similarly was Barca’s sole scorer in Naples when a 1-1 draw was achieved against the Italians in the first leg.

To his left the Pole is Rahphinha, meaning a snub for Joao Felix.

FC Barcelona Starting XI Vs. Napoli: Ter Stegen; Cancelo, Araujo, Cubarsi, Kounde; Christensen, Gundogan, Fermin; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Lamine



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