Garcia Pimienta has his first European fixture in charge of the U19 team in tonight’s UEFA Youth League encounter away to Anderlecht (8.00pm CET). The Belgians topped their first round group and have one of the finest youth teams in the continent. Defending champions Barça will have it tough, but will be going all out in search of a quarter final against Porto, who knocked out Real Madrid. If Barça qualify, that match will be played in the Miniestadi.
The league season has not gone to plan for the Barça U19s, but they now have the chance redeem themselves on a very different stage. There are still some players left from the side that conquered Copenhagen and Arsenal last year to qualify for the Final Four in Nyon, which they went on to win in spectacular style. This season, Barça qualified second from their group, behind Ajax but ahead of PSG and APOEL, and as a result it is Anderlecht who have home advantage in this one-legged encounter.
The Belgians play in the same Constant Vanden Stock Stadium as their first team, with which several members of the youth squad already have ample playing experience. Fast and skilful, there are high hopes that many of these players can continue the outstanding success of senior Belgian football in recent years. Barça met Anderlecht two years ago in the old Next Gen Series, when both group matches ended in draws.