This Wednesday's clash in Amsterdam at 20.45 PM CET is sure to be atypical. FC Barcelona's fourth match in this year's UEFA Champions League group stage is shaping up to be something special. Perhaps most importantly, it is an opportunity for the team to take home three more points and bring them ever closer to qualifying for the round of 16.
With a victory, and some help from current leader Paris Sant Germain, they could even move to the top spot. Also lingering are two recent defeats at the hands of an impressive Celta and archrivals Real Madrid which dropped Barça out of first place on La Liga. Amsterdam Arena could end up being the scene of a revival of sorts; a chance for the team to move forward and put the past firmly behind them.
Luis Enrique has 20 players at his disposal. However, he does not have the injured Jeremy Mathieu, Sergi Roberto and Andres Iniesta. Meanwhile, both Douglas and Luis Suárez have an opportunity to make their Champions League debuts.
For Suarez, the match is extra special. He is coming back to where he made his name, having spent three and a half seasons with Ajax before moving on to Liverpool and, eventually, Barça.
It should be noted that Luis Enrique must drop two players before tonight's match, since only 18 can sit on the bench. Douglas could be one of those left out.
There is no doubt that several Barça players still have the unfortunate memory of last year's 2-1 loss to Ajax in Amsterdam. In that match, the Dutch played an outstanding first half with two scores and the Catalans were unable to erase the deficit. If Barça are to move onward and upward, they can ill afford to make the mistakes they made in last season's meeting.