Barcelona vs Monchengladbach
UEFA Champions League – Group C
Date: Tuesday, 6th December 2016.
Kick-off at 19:45 UK.
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona.
Barcelona will finish their group stage participation in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night, as the Blaugrana welcome Borussia Mönchengladbach to Camp Nou and basically go through the formality of playing.
On paper, this game doesn't matter. All four positions on the group have been decided, Barça will top the standings regardless of any result, and there's very little reason to be excited or interested in this one. But in reality, this is a big game. One win in five (with four draws) and a tough El Clásico result have put the Catalan giants in a position of doubt: is this really the best team in the world? Is this really the strongest squad in Europe? Is Luis Enrique really a good coach?
Truth be told, it is hard to give positive questions to any of those questions. This has been a season where the level of performances has been disappointing at best, some key players from previous seasons are below their usual standards, and Luis Enrique just seems unable to find a real tactical solution other than "big stars, make things happen, please!", and that's a problem.
The second half of El Clásico was a refreshing sign: Barça played well, with and without the ball, and if it wasn't for Sergio Ramos, we would be very encouraged by what we saw at the weekend. That is something to build upon, and three points against Gladbach combined with a strong performance can bring back some confidence and begin to provide some positive answers to the giant cloud of doubt over Camp Nou.
Barcelona vs Monchengladbach: Head-to-head Stats
The first leg clash on matchday 2 is the only competitive meeting between the two teams till today. Barcelona came from a goal behind to defeat Gladbach 2-1 on that occasion. Thorgan Hazard broke the deadline in 34 minutes, while Arda Turan pulled level through a 65th minute goal and Barca’s winner came through an unlikely source Gerard Pique in the 74th minute.
Barcelona have a good record against Bundesliga sides at home as they have won in 18 of the 25 matches alongside a draw, while they were beaten 6 times. Borussia Monchengladbach had only won once in their 7 visits to Spain, while they drew 2 and lost 4.
Barcelona vs Monchengladbach: Prediction
It is very likely that the teams will rotate the squad heavily as their final standings in the group is already confirmed. Both teams are not in the finest of their forms. Barcelona are coming on the back of three consecutive draws and have only win to their name in the last 5 matches. They will be also without two key players – Neymar and Ivan Rakitic through suspension.
Gladbach on the other hand are without a win in the last 7 and have a poor record in away games. On the basis of home record, Barcelona can be backed for a win, but we expect the match to see at least three goal with both teams finding the back of the net.
Barcelona vs Monchengladbach: Bet Tips
Both Teams to Score and Over 2.5 at 1.95.
Neymar and Ivan Rakitic are suspended, Jérémy Mathieu is injured, and Gerard Piqué has a small problem that might keep him out of the game. Those are the problems Luis Enrique has for this match, but it's very hard to see him going with his strongest possible lineup anyway.
In goal, Jasper Cillessen is likely to start as Marc-André ter Stegen gets a rest, and if Piqué goes only to the bench, Samuel Umtiti will partner Javier Mascherano in the middle of defense, with Sergi Roberto and Lucas Digne out wide.
The midfield is interesting, because while you wouldn't play Andrés Iniesta in a game like this, he needs to build up his fitness again after missing two months, so expect him to start and maybe play 60-70 minutes after a marvelous performance in the Clásico. André Gomes seems to be ahead of Rakitic in the pecking order, and with the Croatian suspended, he'll start here. Sergio Busquets may go to the bench for this one, with Denis Suárez in his place. Arda Turan will replace Neymar on the left side, and given the Turk's natural defensive instincts, we will maybe see a four-man midfield.
Up front, Lionel Messi will always play, and Paco Alcácer may finally score his first Barça goal. Luis Suárez worked his butt off on Saturday, so he might start on the bench and play the second half if Alcácer scores or has a really bad game and needs to come off.
Coach André Schubert will not have the luxury to rotate, because with so many players injured and captain Lars Stindl suspended, he'll be forced to start a very strong team, even though he doesn't want to. Borussia aren't in good form, even worse than Barça, and they want to get a result at Camp Nou to get some good news in a tough start to the season.