Roma travel to Camp Nou hoping for a result as they face a confident Barcelona, 4-0 winners over Real Madrid in this past weekend’s El Classico. While coach Rudi Garcia respects his opponent he doesn’t want to defend all game.
With two games left to play in the UEFA Champions League group stage, Roma still control their own destiny. If they win and Leverkusen tie or lose to Bate, Roma will advance. However this won’t be easy. Roma has not won an away game in Champions League since 2010, when they beat Bate 3-2. Their lack of wins on the road are a cause for concern for the giallorossi faithful, especially as Barcelona look to wrap up the group stage by finishing first with a game to go.
In their previous clash in Rome, the clubs tied 1-1. Who can forget the amazing goal by Florenzi, which was nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award?
Players to watch
Roma – Nainggolan
Barcelona love to have possession of the ball, but if there is anyone who can create some havoc in the midfield to launch a counter attack for Roma, it’s Nainggolan. Nainngolan is like a lion in the midfield, ready to pounce on his prey and has a knack of disrupting the opposition while recovering many balls.
Barcelona – Messi
After recovering from a knee ligament injury during the international break, Messi came on as a substitute against Real Madrid. Having that return fixture out of the way, look for Messi to want to shine in the Champions League with a solid performance to let everyone know he is back 100%.
Quotes from the coaches:
Roma – Rudi Garcia:
“When you play against Barcelona, you know that they are going to have most of the possession. If you only go there to defend for the full match, then you are going to lose.”
“That is why I say that we’ve got to take all the chances we get. We have also got some very talented players and, with these, we are going to have to be incisive when it matters. This means getting at Barcelona whenever it is possible.”
“It is going to be difficult and we arrive with a lot of humility, but obviously we are not going to go out there already beaten. If we want this to be a great game, then we have to score at least one goal. Obviously they are a side who win often, but they have lost some games in the league.”
“There is no such thing as an invincible side and that’s the beauty of football. When you think a result is already certain, football is one of the few sports where a weaker team can still win. You need a lot — you need to believe in yourself and also have a bit of luck. We know we are going to have to get close to perfection, even if perfection does not exist in football, if we want to emerge with a positive result.”
“To keep our destiny in our own hands, it would be fair to say we have to win and cause an upset, which very few sides have done in recent years. Barcelona are one of the best sides in the world, but only a win would make any difference for us.”
Barcelona – Luis Enrique
“We see this match as an opportunity to finish first in the group. I believe we have played better [than on Saturday] although 4-0 against Real Madrid attracts more attention. I can’t compare it to the 6-2 victory [at the Santiago Bernabéu in May 2009]. I expect a difficult match, because they need to get a result, so the game will be very open. It is good to see Messi back on the pitch – we all enjoy watching him train and play.”
Lineups and probable starting XI:
Roma (4-3-3): Szczesny; Florenzi, Manolas, Rudiger, Digne; Pjanic, De Rossi, Nainggolan; Iturbe, Dzeko, Iago
Injured: Gervinho, Salah, Totti
Barcelona (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Dani Alves, Piqué, Mathieu, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Injured: Douglas, Mascherano, Rafinha