Still yet to be assured of a place in the Champions League knockout rounds, Barcelona face a huge task against Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s final Group E clash.
The Bundesliga champions are already guaranteed to finish first, while Barcelona are in a two-way fight with Benfica for second place.
The Catalans sit two points above Benfica in second spot, but they have a worse head-to-head record and Benfica will certainly be confident of beating Dynamo Kiev, so Xavi’s side are at an alarming large risk of settling for Europa League football.
And failure to secure maximum points against Bayern will mean Barca will fail to advance from the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2000/2001 season.
And it is important to note that Barca have never won away to Bayern in the history of the Champions League.
After four clashes away to Bayern in Europe’s elite club competition, Barca have lost three and managed just one draw.
Both teams go into the fixture on the back of contrasting fortunes from the weekend, as Bayern beat rivals Dortmund 3-2 while Barca lost to Real Betis at the Nou Camp.
Meanwhile, Barca could find solace in the fact that Bayern might not be at full strength, as their squad has been ravaged by coronavirus in recent weeks.
And as such Joshua Kimmich, Michael Cuisance and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are all at risk of missing out again.
Bouna Sarr, Marcel Sabitzer and Josip Stanisic are all out of contention through injury, and while the ankle injury that Lucas Hernandez picked up against Dortmund is not thought to be serious, he should be spared here either way.
Dayot Upamecano is back from a European ban, and the likes of Jamal Musiala and Marc Roca can feel hopeful of earning starts in this inconsequential tie, especially with Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry also ruled out.
As for Barcelona, Ansu Fati has reportedly lost his battle to be passed fit for Wednesday’s game, with Martin Braithwaite, Sergio Aguero, Pedri and Sergi Roberto also on the sidelines for the visitors.
Gavi was taken to hospital after suffering a head injury against Real Betis, and while he is reported to be training normally, it would be hugely controversial to see him passed fit for Wednesday.
Frenkie de Jong is therefore poised to return to the first XI, and Xavi could take a punt on Ousmane Dembele.