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The UEFA Youth League returns to Estadi Johan Cruyff after 657 days. It’s been a long time since the FC Barcelona U19A side played their last match in the premier European youth competition on 27 November 2019. That game ended in a 2-1 defeat against Inter Milan. Barça didn’t progress from the group stage that season and the COVID-19 pandemic means that they haven’t played any European matches since. Last season saw an attempt to change the format, even having a draw for the quarter finals, but the competition didn't go ahead in the end.
As such, the Barça players are hungry and can’t want to play the first group stage match of the Youth League. They have a notable rival too in Bayern. The team doesn’t need any additional motivation given the competition, the stage, and the rival.
Óscar López, Zacarías and Casadó’s thoughts
The squad has changed significantly from last season, including the coach, Óscar López, who takes charge of the Under-19s for the first time. The coach spoke to Barça TV before the game to analyse how the team should approach the match: “The team is really pumped up and excited about playing in the Youth League. The atmosphere at training is very good, but concentration levels need to be their highest when playing against such strong teams.” And he warned about Bayern’s capabilities: “They are very strong at attacking transitions, so we will need to watch out for those, as well as ensuring that we play our game of maintaining ball possession in the opposition’s half as much as possible.”
The Barça B player, Zacarías Ghailan, is available for this Under-19 match: “This is a very important competition and you have to be on top form, and I am here to give my best and beat Bayern”, he stated to the Club’s in-house media. The captain, Marc Casadó, explained that the team “can’t wait to get started” and he believes that the team is “ready to play.”
Coach Óscar López called up 20 players: Rafús, Miki Juanola, Almeida, A.Casas, Chadi Riad, Álex Valle, Casadó, Alastuey, Fermín, Aleix Garrido, A.Solà, Txus Alba, Z.Ghailan, I.Akhomach, Fabián Luzzi, Estanis, Josep Cerdà, Víctor Barberá, Astralaga and Antonio Gómez.
The group’s other game between Dynamo Kiev and Benfica kicks off at 3pm CEST. The European competition is back. It’s going to be a great watch.
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