Preview: Manchester United - Barça

Preview: Manchester United - Barça

Champions League gets back underway with an encounter between two classic European sides

FC Barcelona's Champions League campaign takes to the 'Theatre of Dreams' on Wednesday night (9pm CEST) for a meeting with Manchester United at Old Trafford. The Blaugrana are targeting a successful quarter final first leg, and come into the contest off the back of a LaLiga win over rivals Atletico Madrid this past Saturday.

When and where to watch the match

The game kicks off at 9.00pm CET. A list of broadcasters can be found here and these are the timetables for the rest of the world:

Horarios Manchester United - FC Barcelona
Horarios Manchester United - FC Barcelona

Barça's history at Old Trafford

Ernesto Valverde's side are looking to make history in this week's game, as FC Barcelona have never won at Old Trafford before. Their record currently stands at two defeats and two draws, with the last occasion they travelled to the famous stadium the 2007/08 semifinals -which ended 1-0. Of the players in action that night, only Leo Messi remains at Barça.

Frequent goals against the Red Devils

Barça have scored at least once in 8 of the 11 fixtures they have had against Manchester United. The likes of Koeman, Romario, Stoichkov, Rivaldo, Eto'o and Messi have all contributed to the 20 times the club have found the net against this Wednesday's opponents, who are in resurgent form.

New precedents

This will be the fifth Champions League encounter between Barça and Manchester United. Of the current squads for the two teams, only Messi has previous experience of the fixture. He has played four times against the Premier League giants, scoring twice.

Piqué's return to Manchester

The match will be a special one for Gerard Piqué, who returns to Old Trafford. He played for Manchester United for three seasons (2004/05, 2005/06 and 2007/08) before rejoining FC Barcelona. Whilst he will not be sharing the pitch with any former teammates, there is one in the dugout: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the current Man Utd coach, lined up alongside Piqué in two FA Cup games against Burton Albion. 

The squad

Ernesto Valverde has chosen the following players in his squad for the game: Ter Stegen, N. Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Todibo, Coutinho, Arthur, Suárez, Messi, O. Dembélé, Malcom, Lenglet, Murillo, Jordi Alba, Boateng, S. Roberto, Vidal, Umtiti, Aleñá and Iñaki Peña. Vermaelen is out through injury. Dembélé is on the list despite not yet having medical clearance, whilst Todibo travels even though he is not registered for the Champions League.

Coaches' comments

Ernesto Valverde was in confident mood at his press conference on Tuesday evening, but warned against Manchester United's strengths. "We're really looking forward to it, it's a fantastic setting here," he told reporters. "I think form is important with regard to confidence and we're in confident mood, you can see that, but we have to make things go in our favour. They [United] had a poor start to the season, now they're in great form, they've got some really quick players, strong players and they're really dangerous from set pieces."

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, meanwhile, is of the opinion that the first leg won't be decisive. “All will be decided at the Camp Nou and we have to do our best to get a good result ahead of the return leg. Messi’s a fantastic player and he will be remembered as one of the best players in history. It’s difficult to stop him but not impossible. It’s not just Messi though, there are other great players as well.” 

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