Tuesday is a huge day for Barcelona and Ernesto Valverde.
After a rather humiliating end to the 2018/19 iteration of the coveted Champions League – Barca were beaten 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield in the second leg of their semi-final encounter as the Reds overturned a 3-0 aggregate deficit – the Blaugrana will be hoping for redemption this year.
But their path towards the big trophy starts with a trip to Germany and more specifically, to Signal Iduna Park and Borussia Dortmund.
The Yellow Wall will have a warm welcome ready for their Catalan guests and Valverde will have to think hard to get his lineup exactly right.
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Starting off with a win would, obviously, be ideal and after a convincing 5-2 triumph at the Camp Nou against a tricky opponent in the form of Valencia, we just might see a repeat of that same formation with a simple tweak on Tuesday.
With that in mind, here’s what we think Barcelona’s starting XI might look like at Signal Iduna Park…
Lionel Messi is in the official squad that’s travelling to Germany but we still don’t know whether or not he’ll actually get to play against Borussia Dortmund.
AS report that he could start the game on the bench and then possibly feature in the second half but nothing can be said for certain.
Luis Suarez is the big name in the XI, especially considering that he made his return last weekend against Valencia, coming off the bench and bagging a brace in the process. That should be enough to warrant him a start next to Antoine Griezmann on the left and Carles Perez on the right.
The 16-year-old prodigy, Ansu Fati, will, in our opinion, start on the bench for this one despite his heroics against Valencia. Teenagers have to be protected, after all, and he would be an excellent option from the bench if the game is not going Barca’s way.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is bound to start between the sticks, guarded by the same quartet he had in front of him against Valencia – Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo as the team’s full-backs and Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique as their centre-backs.
The midfield should also be unchanged; Frenkie de Jong bagged a goal and an assist against Valencia and Arthur Melo tallied an assist as well. With that in mind, the trident of Sergio Busquets, Melo and De Jong is likely to start in the middle.
This is an extremely important game for both teams so a fierce battle is to be expected.
On paper, and with all the injuries and absences taken into account – any Barca team without Messi is obviously weakened – this looks like the best XI they can field this Tuesday. Let’s see whether Valverde feels the same.