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Both teams head into the second Champions League matchday in good form though it’s worth noting that Sporting have not beaten Spanish opposition and have also never managed to win their opening two games in the competition.
By contrast, Barça have yet to lose against a Portuguese side and have won 14 of their last 17 group games.
Rafinha and Dembélé are both out through injury, while Thomas Vermaelen, Paco Alcácer and Arda Turan have been left out of the squad by Ernesto Valverde. Nélson Semedo and Gerard Deulofeu return with Barça B keeper, Adrián Ortolá, also called up.
The full squad is as follows: Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Ortolá, Semedo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Denis Suárez, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Mascherano, Paulinho, Deulofeu, Jordi Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal and Umtiti.
“This competition, the Champions League, is very demanding because it is played at another pace. We are up against a top side and we are aware of that” said Ernesto Valverde on Tuesday.
“Sporting are a strong team who had a great season last year. They are good in midfield and they work well on the counter as one of their strong points is their pace out wide.”
“Barcelona are doing well, Lionel Messi is strong and when those two things align they are almost impossible to beat,” said his counterpart Jorge Jesus.
“We have a lot of responsibility and now Sporting must continue to win points. We are convinced that we can take something off Barcelona.”
Barça have enjoyed a perfect start to the season, winning every game in La Liga and also their Champions League opener against Juventus. In their three away matches so far this season, they’ve conceded just once whilst scoring seven, including the most recent victory over Girona (0-3) at Montilivi.
Still unbeaten themselves, after six wins in a row, Sporting have drawn their last two matches, including vs Moreirense at the weekend.
The teams have only met twice, both encounters coming in the group stages of the 2008/2009 Champions League. Barça won 3-1 at the Camp Nou in the opening game and on matchday five emerged with a 5-2 away victory at the Estádio José Alvalade.
As always, the game is being screened in almost every corner of the world, but if you are one of the unfortunate few who won’t be able to watch on TV for whatever reason, you can always tune into our live English language commentary on Radio Barça. The link will appear on the homepage shortly before kick-off. Not forgetting of course that we’ll have updates of all the action as it happens on our official Twitter feed.
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