Real Madrid, PSG, Roma, Atletico. All had something in common. Favourites to go through but they all lost. Barca’s do not want to join that group tonight against Lyon.
After a 0-0 in France, any draw with goals would send the visitors through. And Nabil Fekir, their captain and chief playmaker, is back this time after suspension.
Ousmane Dembele has been the player everyone has been wondering about. He suffered an injury against Rayo but is in Barca’s squad for tonight.
Dembele must have taken a step forward in recovering from the minor hamstring strain to be included, although two from the list of 20 must be cut.
Jeison Murillo and Kevin Prince Boateng are there because Valverde doesn’t want to show his hand and though they seem likely to be cut, it could be Dembele if he is not ready.
The coach doesn’t want to give any clues, but Barca will line up with their best XI if Dembele is fit.
Ter Stegen in goal, Lenglet over Umtiti as he is in better form and has match fitness.
It’s likely Valverde will stick with his 4-3-3, with Busquets, Arthur and Rakitic in the middle, with Sergi Roberto at right-back.
The question is over who replaces Dembele if he is not fit, to join the attack with Suarez and Messi.
Coutinho has more chance, but watch out for Malcom. He is more similar in style to Dembele and will help Barca open up the pitch.
Barca’s history says they are infallible at this round, especially playing the second leg at Camp Nou. But there have been many shocks and Barca can’t afford to slip up now. The quarter-finals await.