Last season, Barcelona managed to win 5 consecutive games in the group stage but finished second on the head-to-head record as Juventus secured a 3-0 win at Camp Nou on the final Matchday.
Then, Paris Saint Germain ran riot to win the tie 5-2 on aggregate. This year, Barcelona was grouped with Bayern Munich, Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv. Koeman’s Barcelona was deemed to be favourites to finish second in the group but you can’t rule out the possibility of a potential upset in the Champions League.
On Matchday 1, Barcelona faced their biggest rivals in Champions League history as the Blaugrana hosted Bayern Munich at Camp Nou. The previous meeting between these sides will remain in the history books as Bayern Munich thrashed Barcelona in an 8-2 win.
The German champions were clear favourites to top the group and made a statement with a 3-0 win. Barcelona weren’t the favourites but this defeat in front of the fans was embarrassing. Many players were whistled and booed by the fans for not performing as per their expectations.
On Matchday 2, the Catalan club followed its 3-0 opening loss against Bayern Munich with another 3-0 defeat at Benfica. Darwin Nunez’s brace and a Rafa Silva strike were enough to end a 60-year winless streak against Barcelona.
Eric Garcia’s red card added pain to the misery. Pedri’s forced recovery to the game resulted in another injury for the 18-year-old. Ronald Koeman’s side was completely outclassed by Benfica who deserved all 3 points. Barcelona’s only hope for qualification was to secure a win over Dynamo Kyiv in their next Champions League game.
On Matchday 3, Barcelona did what they had to do with their narrow 1-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv in front of a sparse Camp Nou crowd.
Gerard Pique’s strike made him the joint highest scoring defender in the Champions League with a tally of 16 goals. Barcelona will need another win over the Ukrainian Champions to mount pressure on Benfica for the second spot. Barcelona managed to finish the game with a clean sheet but wasn’t clinical enough to put the game to bed.
However, things will change tomorrow onwards as Barcelona have sacked Ronald Koeman after a 1-0 defeat against Rayo Vallecano. Xavi is the favourite candidate at the moment but could be appointed during the international break. Barcelona will face Dynamo Kyiv next week as Barcelona B coach Sergi Barjuán will be the interim coach.
Barcelona is yet to win an away game this season and hasn’t scored in 4 of them. Xavi’s return to the side will inject the impetus and enthusiasm into the Blaugrana fans who have been waiting for so many years.
Bayern will welcome Benfica at Allianz Arena and will hope to secure the knockout spot with a win. If Barcelona can snatch 3 points in Kyiv and if Bayern wins, Barcelona will leapfrog Benfica to the second spot and will set up an exciting must-win game at Camp Nou on Matchday 5 and Matchday 6, Barcelona would travel to Allianz Arena for a mouth-watering clash.