Barcelona begin their quest for European glory against Hungarian champions Ferencvaros on Tuesday at 8pm.
The Blaugrana have not tasted Champions League success since 2015 and crashed out of the quarter-finals last season in humiliating fashion, losing 8-2 to eventual winners Bayern Munich in a single-legged tie at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz.
That capitulation sparked a chain of events which saw Quique Setien unceremoniously dumped from the dugout and replaced by Ronald Koeman, while Lionel Messi tried to push for an exit, only to stay put after much toing and froing.
Koeman has somewhat steadied the ship in his opening weeks as Barca boss, but a fresh defeat at the hands of Getafe over the weekend has reignited concerns at the Camp Nou and now puts huge pressure on the Dutchman to deliver this week.
In this first ever meeting between Barcelona and Ferencvaros, the Hungarian champions will be hoping to twist the knife in Catalonia, end their opponents’ undefeated run of 31 home games in the group stages, and mark their first appearance in the competition since 1995/96 with a shock result.
Where to watch Barcelona vs Ferencvaros on TV:
- UK: BT Sport ESPN
- US: CBS All Access
Where to live stream Barcelona vs Ferencvaros:
US ONLY: Fubo* are streaming a selection of Champions League fixtures live for account holders. Those without a Fubo account already can take advantage of their seven-day free trial by following the simple steps below.
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- Click ‘Start Your Free Trial’ and enter your details.
- Log in and pick your desired channel to watch.
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Barcelona & Ferencvaros’s previous line-ups:
- Barcelona (vs Getafe): Neto; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Dest; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Messi, Dembele; Griezmann.
- Ferencvaros (vs Kisvarda): Dibusz; Lovrencsics, Frimpong, Kovacevic, Heister; Kharatin, Laidouni, Isael, Skvarka, Nguen; Boli.
Barcelona remain without the services of Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Jordi Alba so Koeman is likely to stick with Neto in goal and one of Sergino Dest or Junior Firpo at left-back. With El Clasico up next for Barca in La Liga, Koeman may be tempted to make a few changes with one eye on Real Madrid.
Players to watch:
- Barcelona: One goal in four La Liga games is not the sort of return we have come to expect from Lionel Messi, but that is the reality facing the Argentine and Barcelona after a whirlwind summer. If Koeman is to succeed in the dugout then he will have to build everything around his captain and help him get back to his prolific best in front of goal. In the Champions League group stages he has netted a record 68 goals, more than any other player, and he will be hoping to find some form back in Europe to really kick start his season and generate momentum heading into this weekend’s El Clasico.
- Ferencvaros: Serhiy Rebrov’s side have had an extraordinary run to the Champions League group stages. They are the only team in these opening group phases this season who started their journey in the first qualifying round. In fact, the last team to go on such a run and face Barcelona in the group stages was Dynamo Kiev in 1997/98, who won both games with Rebrov a scorer in each victory for the Ukrainian club. He has long since hung up his boots but he does have a player in his ranks who is no stranger to such form in front of goal. Tokmac Nguen was directly involved in four goals during the qualifiers, netting in the wins over Djurgarden and Celtic, while also playing a key part in victories over Dinamo Zagreb and Molde. Having come this far already, Ferencvaros will not go down without a fight and will be determined to prove that they are not just here to make up the numbers.
Scoreline prediction: Barcelona 3-0 Ferencvaros
Champions League betting offer: 888Sport
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