Barcelona welcome Portuguese giants Porto to Catalonia in a meeting between the top two of Champions League Group H on Tuesday night.
Both clubs are level on nine points after four games while Shakhtar Donetsk are skulking behind in third place with six points. If Barcelona can secure a victory on home soil, they are guaranteed of a knockout-round berth. Porto would also qualify with a win if Shakhtar fail to defeat bottom side Antwerp on the same night.
Neither Barcelona nor Porto come into the contest in imperious form, with the hosts particularly out of sorts, adding to the angst of a decisive tie.
Here’s everything you need to know about Tuesday’s intriguing clash.
Barcelona vs Porto H2H Record (Last Five Games)
Current form (all competitions)
TV channel/live stream
TNT Sports 4, discovery+ App, discovery+
TUDN App, TUDN USA, TUDN.com, ViX, Univision NOW, Univision, Paramount+
Barcelona slumped to a 1-1 draw in the club’s first game after Gavi’s long-term knee injury. Frenkie de Jong returned to the fold but was decidedly rusty after a lengthy absence himself.
First-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen sat out the trip to Rayo Vallecano with a back complaint that he sustained ahead of this month’s international break. Inaki Pena was hardly at fault for Unai Lopez’s blistering opener but Ter Stegen will always be missed, such is the security which he brings to the role.
The German custodian took to social media to reveal that it was his decision to miss the meeting with Rayo and promised: “I’m coming back soon!!” Whether that spells a return on Tuesday remains to be seen.
Midfielder Sergi Roberto is also a doubt with a persistent calf injury.
Barcelona predicted lineup vs Porto (4-3-3): Pena; Cancelo, Araujo, Kounde, Balde; Pedri, De Jong, Gundogan; Yamal, Lewandowski, Felix.
Porto have been without first-choice left-back Wendell since he sustained a muscular problem in October. The Brazilian remains a doubt for Tuesday’s game.
Sergio Conceicao was able to heavily rotate his squad for a cup tie against fourth-tier side Montalegre on Saturday. The likes of Diogo Costa and Mehdi Taremi are expected to return to what should be Conceicao’s strongest lineup against Barcelona. Former Real Madrid centre-back Pepe was left out of the cup squad entirely and had to be withdrawn from Porto’s final match ahead of the November international break with a fitness issue.
Ivan Jaime and Gabriel Veron are unlikely to feature as they nurse muscle injuries while backup goalkeeper Samuel is carrying a groin problem. Centre-back Ivan Marcano will do well to feature at all this season after tearing his ACL in September.
Porto predicted lineup vs Barcelona (4-3-3): Costa; Mario, Cardoso, Carmo, Zaldu; Franco, Varela, Eustaquio; Conceicao, Evanilson, Pepe.
Barcelona edged a controversial contest in Portugal by a single goal while Conceicao rued a raft of refereeing decisions. “We played against more than a club,” the Porto coach seethed, nodding towards Barcelona’s motto. “And that is all I have to say.”
Porto will also be playing against history on Tuesday. The Iberian behemoths have not beaten Barcelona since 1985 when they came up against a side managed by the late Terry Venables.
The Catalans may have won eight of their nine home games this season but Xavi was left lamenting his side’s mentality after dropping points against Rayo on the weekend. With home advantage to lean upon, Barcelona are unlikely to lose this midweek but may not get the win to guarantee their place in the knockout stage just yet.