Barça will know this Monday (13:00 CET) their rival in the playoff draw for the Europa League. They will play the play-off round after the elimination from the Champions League, where they finished third in the group. They will have a place in the group of the second continental tournament with some prestigious clubs and others with less importance at European level.
Meeting Cristiano Ronaldo, Varane and Casemiro, always interesting
Manchester United with ex-Madridistas Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro could not take the first place from Real Sociedad despite a 0-1 win at Anoeta on the last round. With Erik ten Hag on the bench, the ‘Red Devils’ have a door in the Europa League to return to the Champions League. In February they may have gone further. There is quality with others like Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho and De Gea.
Roma, with Mourinho in charge, is another possible tough opponent. 6th in the Seria A, Roma might have to win the Europa League in order to be back in the Champions League.
Their main player is Paolo Dybala, but they have other good players. They will be a tough opponent for Barcelona, no doubt about it.
The revelation of the Bundesliga
Union Berlin, defeated (5-0) by Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen, has lost the leadership of the Bundesliga this Sunday after commanding it for several days. Bayern only takes two points from him and is now third with Sheraldo Becker in the stiletto and Rani Khedira, brother of the former Madrid player, in the middle. Urs Fischer leads the team from the bench.
Luuk de Jong scores and Van Nistelrooy commands
PSV, with Ruud van Nistelrooy as coach, is the leader in the Eredivisie. This weekend they beat Ajax, who are now two points below Eindhoven. Luuk de Jong opened the can and could be measured against Barça (or Sevilla), his previous team. On the last day of the Europa League group stage he also scored in the 2-0 against Arsenal. The leader of the Premier and were close to get the first place, which would have been theirs in the event of a tie with Zurich at the Emirates (1-0). The former azulgrana Xavi Simons is another familiar old face.
Common already in the French high zone
Bruno Genesio’s Rennes, former coach of Olympique Lyon, is one of the ambushes of the draw. Third, fourth and sixth in recent seasons, they are in third place in Ligue 1 although 10 points behind PSG. The left winger Martin Terrier, formerly at Lille and Lyon, is his biggest offensive prop.
Ben Yedder and Volland
Those from the Principality, with Philippe Clement on the bench, are fifth in the French championship, 11 points behind PSG. They have the ex-Sevillista Wissam Ben Yedder as their main banner along with German Kevin Volland, the winner in the decisive 4-1 win against Red Star.
The most affordable of the French
The historic Antoine Kombouaré directs the ‘canaries’, fifth from bottom in Ligue 1 with veterans Moussa Sissoko (ex-Tottenham) and Fabio (ex-Man. Utd.) in the squad.
Barça to meet Albert Capellas?
Second in group F after Ferencvaros and ahead of Lazio and Sturm Graz with a tie on eight points between all, Midtjylland carburetes less in the Danish League, where it is ninth. Albert Capellas, until recently part of La Masia, and interim coach of Barça B last season when Sergi Barjuan did the same in the first team between the dismissal of Ronald Koeman and the arrival of Xavi Hernández, continues to leave his mark in Denmark, where He was once U-21 coach.
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