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For the second round in a row, this time against Juventus in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, FC Barcelona will be forced to score early and often at Camp Nou to nullify a costly first-leg defeat and qualify for the next stage.
"It was a tough loss, but we're potent," said midfiielder Andrés Iniesta at his pregame press conference on Tuesday. "We can sow doubt in our opponents and try to turn the tables."
But a mere victory will not suffice, as Barça, who go into the game with 3–0 aggregate deficit, must be equal or better than that should they harbor any aspirations of making their eighth semifinals appearance in the last 10 seasons.
Barça arrived in the quarterfinals thanks to the most stunning comeback in Champions League history, in which they beat Paris Saint Germain, 6–1 at Camp Nou, just shy of six weeks ago, providing Barça’s players and fans with a palpable level of optimism in the buildup to Wednesday night’s showdown.
In the UEFA Champions League, this season:
Barça, overall (6–0–3)
Juventus, overall (7–2–0)
Barça, at home: (4–0–0)
Juventus, on the road: (4–0–0)
Goals for: Barça 26; Juventus 17
Goals against: Barça 12; Juventus 2
Head-to-head in the Champions League, all-time:
Coaches’ UCL records, all-time:
Barça, Luis Enrique Martínez (24–2–6)
Juventus, Massimiliano Allegri (27–20–15)
The squad: Ter Stegen, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis, A. Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Cillessen, Mascherano, Paco Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Umtiti and Aleñá (28).
Striker Lionel Messi leads the Champions League in scoring this season with 11 goals…Neymar and Arda Turan, with four goals each, are tied for ninth with nine other players, including Juve’s Paulo Dybala…Barça’s 27.4% shot conversion percentage leads the tournament…Since Luis Enrique took over as coach, Barça have won all 15 of their Champions League games at Camp Nou, scoring 50 goals while conceding just seven…Moreover, Barça have scored three or more goals in seven of their last eight home games in the tournament…In Neymar’s three UCL appearances at Camp Nou this season, he has four goals and five assists… Neymar, Gerard Piqué, Ivan Rakitić, and Luis Suárez are all one yellow card away from missing a potential semifinal first leg.
Despite having made the quarterfinals for just the 10th time since 1992, Juventus are there for the third time in five seasons, and are looking for their second semifinals berth in the last three…La Vecchia Signiora are riding a five-game UCL winning streak and are one of two teams that have yet to lose this season…Juventus also haven’t conceded a goal in the last 441 minutes, dating to a group stage match versus Sevilla back in November…The only two goals Juventus have given up this season have come on set pieces…Juan Cuadrado, Sami Khedira, and Mario Mandžukić are all one yellow card away from suspension.
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