Barcelona get their 2021/22 Champions League campaign underway on Tuesday in perhaps the scariest way possible – a visit from Bayern Munich.
With memories of last year’s 8-2 mauling still fresh, the Blaugrana will be out for revenge but have to contend with a major fitness crisis in attack. This may force Ronald Koeman to get creative with his lineup.
Here’s how the boss could set up.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) – In the battle of the German goalkeepers, Ter Stegen will be desperate to come out on top.
Sergi Roberto (RB) – Sergino Dest picked up an injury during the international break, so it could be over to Roberto to fill in at right-back.
Ronald Araujo (CB) – Barcelona are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, but Araujo has been solid in his two starts so far and will likely keep his spot.
Gerard Pique (CB) – A calf injury was bothering Pique before the international break, but he is expected to be fit here and his experience could be absolutely crucial in such a tough fixture.
Jordi Alba (LB) – Alba is likely to recover from a minor injury in time to keep his spot in the starting lineup.
Sergio Busquets (DM) – Busquets had a tough time in the 8-2 loss but has bounced back and now plays an important leadership role.
Frenkie de Jong (CM) – Used in a deeper role on that fateful night, Koeman has given De Jong the freedom to push forward and unleashed a different side of his game. Let’s see how it matches up with Bayern.
Pedri (CM) – It’s a match, so Pedri has to start. Them’s the rules in Barcelona.
Memphis Depay (RW) – Depay has been shining as a central striker in the past few months, but injuries may force Koeman to move him out wide for this one.
Luuk de Jong (ST) – How’s this for a debut? With Martin Braithwaite, Ansu Fati, Ousmane Dembele and Sergio Aguero all unavailable, it’s either De Jong or one of the unproven youngsters.
Philippe Coutinho (LW) – Coutinho netted twice for Bayern in that 8-2 game, and with so few options in attack, he should get the chance to return the favour.