The anticipation is over as the Champions League 2023-24 group stage draw unveils FC Barcelona’s opponents – Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Royal Antwerp. The draw, held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, sets the stage for the club’s renewed quest in the tournament. After two consecutive eliminations in the group stage, Barcelona is poised to overcome this hurdle and advance to the knockout rounds, with the ultimate goal of reaching the final at Wembley Stadium on June 1, 2024.
As the last team from Pot 1, the group of top seeds, FC Barcelona’s name emerged in Group H. The draw placed them alongside Porto, a team from Pot 2. The following draw added Shakhtar Donetsk to their group, orchestrated by Éric Abidal. The last team to join Group H was Royal Antwerp, a club that progressed from the qualifying rounds.
The primary objective for FC Barcelona is to progress to the Round of 16, a stage they haven’t reached since the 2020-21 season under Ronald Koeman’s leadership. The subsequent seasons saw Barcelona falter in the group stage – eliminated by Bayern Munich and Benfica in 2021-22, and Bayern Munich and Inter Milan in 2022-23.
Desire for European Glory:
While the distant goal is the June 1, 2024 final at Wembley Stadium, FC Barcelona recognizes its longstanding European challenge. The team’s European campaign has been marred by unfulfilled expectations in recent years. Despite reaching the quarter-finals in 2019-20 and the semi-finals in 2018-19, the last triumph was in 2014-15, when they secured victory against Juventus.
The draw in Monaco saw the presence of Joan Soler. The director responsible for the club’s youth football came with former player Bojan Krkic. The latter is expected to take on an official role, possibly in the technical department. President Joan Laporta and Football Director Deco remained in Barcelona to oversee the last-minute summer transfer dealings.
With a determined spirit and lessons learned from past campaigns, FC Barcelona embarks on a new chapter in the Champions League. The draw has set the stage, leaving no room for excuses. The club, its players, and its fans unite in anticipation of a journey that seeks not only group stage progression. But also the return of Barcelona’s European dominance. As they navigate through the group, the dream of hoisting the coveted trophy at Wembley Stadium burns brightly.