Barcelona On The Course For Sixth Champions League Title

Barcelona are into the last eight of the Champions League after beating Napoli over the weekend and they can head to Lisbon dreaming of getting their hands on their sixth European crown.

Bayern Munich won’t be easy opponents in the quarter-finals, nor will Manchester City or Lyon in the semi-finals, but the Catalans will be hoping to put their struggles behind them and go all the way in Portugal after reaching a record-breaking 13th consecutive quarter-final.

Even despite their problems, Barcelona have reasons to dream of getting their hands on the trophy:

Lionel Messi

A little bit of Messi is a lot, and the Argentine is good enough to lead them to silverware.

He turned it on for half an hour against Napoli and, just like that, the game was done.

He’s shown Bayern before in 2009 and 2015 that he’s unstoppable at his best, but he’s also had to suffer against the Bavarians in 2013.

More effective

Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal will be available again after missing the last 16 second leg through suspension.

Their returns give Setien more options, which means he can make more changes and keep his players fresh.

Ousmane Dembele could also feature at some stage, meaning that the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Sergi Roberto and Ivan Rakitic could be rotated.

Frenkie de Jong is back

The Dutchman was back to his best against Napoli.

He completed 93 percent of his passes in the Italians’ half, allowed his team to breath and broke the lines with his passing.

Barcelona won’t miss Arthur Melo if De Jong can stay at this level.

The format

Playing each game over one leg suits Barcelona.

A two-legged tie would make their shortcomings easier to expose, but in one-off games their chances increase.

“There are no favourites with this format,” Sergi Roberto himself said, showing that Barcelona back themselves.

Their defensive axis

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet are so important to Setien’s side.

Ter Stegen will want to prove himself with Manuel Neuer at the other end of the pitch, Pique has been one of their most consistent players this season and Lenglet himself has continued to improve.

Barcelona have defended better since lockdown and they’ll be hoping that continues into the Champions League’s latter stages.

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