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Barcelona host Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday night in their last game of the group stage, with both teams already through to the round of 16.
Ronald Koeman saw his team win 2-0 against opponents on Tuesday in October and will look forward to a clean sweep in the group stage. He has charted his team’s path to five victories in the campaign so far, despite a shaky start at the national level.
Andrea Pirlo has only seen his team lose once in the Champions League this season and has overseen four wins in five games. Impressive doubles against Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvaros brought qualification to two games from the end, but they will need to beat Barça by three goals to advance to the group stage.
When does it start? Tuesday December 8
What time does it start? 8 pm (GMT)
Where do you play? Camp Nou
Television channel? BT sport (UNITED KINGDOM)
Gerard Piqué, Samuel Umtiti, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto are out of Barcelona due to long-term injuries, while Ousmane Dembélé suffered a hamstring strain in last weekend’s loss to Cádiz and is ready for another off-team season.
Pirlo still cannot call on the services of Giorgio Chiellini, Merih Demiral and Gianluigi Buffon. Morata is likely to start due to still serving a national ban. Cristiano Ronaldo missed the reserve match in October and faces his arch nemesis Lionel Messi in the Champions League for the first time since 2011.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Pjanic, Pedri; Messi, Griezmann, Coutinho.
Juventus: Szczesny; Square, Bonucci, De Ligt, Sandro; Chiesa, Rabiot, Bentancur, Kulusevski; Morata, Ronaldo.
Barcelona could match its record of winning all six matches in a Champions League group stage on Tuesday, a feat it previously accomplished in 2002/03. Only Bayern Munich have won all six group stage matches and lifted the trophy. They beat opponents on Tuesday in October, although the team they faced that night lacked the presence of the self-isolating Ronaldo.
Juventus have a near-perfect record so far this season and their only loss was against Barcelona. They have beaten Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvaros in convincing victories and have given themselves plenty of room to breathe after finishing qualifying so early. Like Barcelona, their domestic form has been stopped and they have already added five draws.
Cadiz 2-1 Barcelona (5/12)
Ferencvaros 0-3 Barcelona (2/12)
Barcelona 4-0 Osasuna (11/29)
Dynamo Kyiv 0-4 Barcelona (24/11)
Atlético de Madrid 1-0 Barcelona (11/21)
Juventus 2-1 Turin (5/12)
Juventus 3-0 Dynamo Kiev (2/12)
Benevento 1-1 Juventus (11/28)
Juventus 2-1 Ferencvaros (11/24)
Juventus 2-0 Cagliari (11/21)
Given that both teams are likely to continue to line up renowned players, we can look forward to an exciting game and a long-awaited encounter between Messi and Ronaldo. Both sides lack key players, which means that managers are forced to close gaps with younger players. This bodes well for attackers, as possible cracks in the armor could offer a way out on Tuesday.
Prediction: Barcelona 3-2 Juventus