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Xavi Hernández i Nico Pareja.

The biggest competition in the world of club football returns to the Camp Nou this evening. Barça will make its debut in the 2012/13 Champions League against Spartak Moscow. The Azulgranas are, by their own rights, one of the favourites of the competition seeing that the team led by Tito Vilanova have qualified five times in as many years for the semi-finals.

This will be Tito Vilanova’s debut as FC Barcelona’s manager in the Champions League. His team have won every single La Liga match this season so far, four victories from four matches with a goal tally of 12 goals scored and 3 conceded.

Waiting on Alexis

The manager might be able to use Alexis Sánchez this evening. The Chilean, who still doesn’t have the medical all-clear, was named to the against Spartak. Vilanova will decide if the player gets the go-ahead right before the match. Jordi Alba and Andrés Iniesta will also miss the match due to injury. Captain Carles Puyol, who strained the posterior cruciate ligament in left knee on Saturday, will also miss the match. Therefore, Vilanova called up Cristian Tello and Gerard Deulofeu to fill out his 19-man squad.

Irregular start for Spartak

Spartak Moscow's start to the season hasn't been the best. The Russian side currently lie seventh in the Russian League standings, however, it should be noted that six of their eight games were played away from home. Unai Emery, a well-known manager in Spanish football, has reinforced Spartak well with talented players during the summer transfer window: Rómulo (Vasco de Gama), the ex-Lyon player Kallstrom and José Manuel Jurado (on loan from Schalke 04). De Zeeuw, who is suspended, won’t feature in tonight’s match.


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