The 3-0 loss at home to Juventus on Tuesday night meant that Barcelona finished 2nd in their Champions League group for the first time since the 2006/07. Despite winning the opening 5 matches, Barça gave up the first place to Juve on the head to head. It means that Barçahave to face a heavyweight club in the Round of 16, unlike the last few seasons. Barça managed to get fairly easier draw by finishing first in the group stages. Another massive disadvantage will be that Barça will have to play the second leg of the tie away from home. And we all know how poor a record the club has in that. FC Barcelona haven’t won a single 2nd leg UCL knockout game since beating Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 way back in 2011.
The possible opponents for Barcelona are: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain.
Perhaps one of the most feared sides in entire Europe are the defending champions Bayern Munich. Arguably, they are also the best team in entire Europe. And could forget how Barcelona were humiliated 8-2 by Bayern in the Quarter Finals of last season’s tournament. They topped Group A with 5 wins and 1 draw, scoring 18 and conceding just 5.
Possible lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard Sule Alaba Davies; Kimmich Goretzka; Gnabry Muller Sane; Lewandowski. Considering every aspect Barcelona will be hoping to avoid the Bavarian club at all costs.
Another team which Barcelona could draw is Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Even though they have been quite inconsistent in the league so far, they are unbeaten in the Champions League. They finished the group stages with 5 wins and 1 draw, scoring 13 and conceding just 1 goal. They come in as the Group C winners.
Possible lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker Dias Laporte Cancelo; De Bruyne RodriGundogan; Torres Aguero Sterling.
Even though Barça have quite a good record against City in the Champions League, we must keep in mind that the last they met was in 2016. Times have certainly changed. The last time Barça faced them in the round of 16 stage, they went on to win the tournament.
Another possible English opponent are Liverpool. Barcelona don’t have fond memories of facing them either. Back in 2019, Liverpool overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit to beat Barça 4-0 in the return leg. Liverpool are currently struggling with injuries but most of them will return by February. And they could also make signings to strengthen their side. They come in as the Group D toppers with 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat, scoring 10 and conceding 3. But Atalanta managed to beat them 2-0 at Anfield.
Possible XI: Alisson; Trent Matip Fabinho Robertson; Wijnaldum Henderson Thiago; Salah Firmino Mane.
Liverpool are one of the best sides in Europe for sure and Barça will go into a possible match as underdogs. Another team Barça would want to avoid.
Another Premier League side who are a possible opponent are Chelsea under Frank Lampard. They spent heavily in the last transfer window and have built a very strong unit. They come into the knock out stages as Group E winners with 4 wins and 2 draws, scoring 13 and conceding 2 goals.
Possible lineup (4-2-3-1): Mendy; James Zouma Silva Chilwell; Jorginho Kante; Ziyech Havertz Pulisic; Werner
Chelsea have consistently improved as the season has gone by. They are a force to reckon with yet arguably they are not as fearsome as few of the other opponents.
The most favorable draw in the opinion of many are Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund. They do boast few of the best attacking talents in their squad but are still a bit weak in defence. Their league form has been inconsistent too. They come in as the Group F winners managing 4 wis, 1 draw and 1 loss, scoring 12 goals and conceding 5.
Possible XI (4-2-3-1): Burki; Meunier Akanji Hummels Guerreiro; Witsel Bellingham; Sancho Reus Hazard; Haaland.
The front four can hurt any side in the world, certainly Barça’s. One thing is that
Borussia Dortmund often do fail to turn up in big matches. Barça managed to beat them at home last season but Haaland wasn’t there and Sancho was having some problems with the coach. In the away match, Barça managed a goalless draw courtesy of some heroics from ter Stegen.
PARIS SAINT GERMAIN
French side PSG are another possible opponent. A draw with them will lead to Neymar playing against his former side. Another team with great attacking threats but vulnerable in defence. They were inconsistent in the group stages but still managed to finish as toppers. They won Group H with 4 wins and 2 losses, scoring 13 and conceding 6.
Possible XI (4-3-3): Navas; Kehrer Marquinhos Kimpembe Diallo; Paredes Gueye Verratti; Di Maria Mbappe Neymar.
Barça would go into a possible tie with PSG as clear underdogs. And the name which would come into every fan’s mind is Neymar. The last time FC Barcelona faced them in the UCL Round of 16, they managed to turn around a 4-0 first leg deficit and win the second leg 6-1.