City v Barça at Etihad Stadium. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

FC Barcelona host Manchester City at the Camp Nou on Wednesday (8.45 PM CET), and www.fcbarcelona.com asked four City fans that live in Barcelona how it feels to have their beloved team coming to their adopted city, and whether they still think they have a chance of making it into the next round of the Champions League.

From Xbox to reality

Daryl is from Manchester and has lived here for seven years. He describes the game as “a dream come true. The only way it was possible before was on an Xbox! … I am grateful to FC Barcelona as a lot of my local friends support them, they helped me settle here and for once we can enjoy a big game together".

Benjamin Pugsley works as a chef in Barcelona, and also produces football analytics for various websites, including Bitter and Blue. Although he wouldn’t describe himself as a Barça fan, he can’t help admiring the team, because of what he calls “the wonderfully crafted way in which they not only beat all-comers during those 2008-2012 years, but so influenced the thinking of other teams and coaches with their unique passing and pressing tactics.” The chance to play against such a team “is a marquee game of sorts for Man City, and it is the type of fixture that the owners envision Man City competing in for years to come.”

Along similar lines, Conor McKeever, a contact centre manager who has lived in the city for nearly four years, comments that “in recent times no one has been as successful and consistent as FCB so we need to show we can beat the best to be seen as a serious contender.” He also explains how “before I lived in Barcelona, I travelled from Belfast frequently for Barcelona games so I consider myself a big fan … I will always want Barcelona to progress in the tournament so if they go through I wouldn’t be too annoyed.”

But dolphin trainer Wayne Barker has a very different attitude to Wednesday night's opposition. Rather than support Barça, he opted to follow Espanyol instead and has a curious explanation for this. “The real reason was because in Manchester at the time United were like Barça. Good successful team, commercial and glamorous. I was not used to supporting a good team who win all the time, so I chose Espanyol as they were the closest I was going to get to filling the void of being away from my team.” For City to now be playing FCB “obviously means a lot because I have been living in the city for 11 years. We have played them two times recently, the inauguration of our new stadium in 2003 and in the Gamper Trophy. But to play them in a Champions League game is amazing. Something I would never have imagined when moving here all those years ago.”

First leg blues

There can be no question that their spirits have dampened somewhat in the wake of 2-0 defeat in the first leg at the Etihad. Conor’s initial optimism was shattered. “When I first saw the draw, my feeling was that both teams would comfortably win at home but City would edge the tie overall” he said. “We were unbeaten at the Etihad and scoring freely in the league. The loss of Aguero to injury hit hard … and the defensive stability offered by Kompany and Nastasic was also missing with the latter being injured.” Wayne continues that “Of course Barça had a lot of possession as they generally do in most games but I don't remember them actually causing us any real problems.The penalty (which was wrongly given as it was outside the area) did not help and the resulting sending off was always going to make it difficult thereon.”

Ben feels “a sense of disappointment, of an opportunity squandered. I think Pellegrini's tactics were sound though somewhat safe, but yet again City were undone by individual errors.” So, does that mean it’s all over, or can they still make it into the last eight? “Yes, City can qualify” he reckons. “But that doesn't mean it wouldn't be highly unlikely to happen. City can cause Barça problems - Aguero's return, Fernandinho and Nasri fully fit - but they will be unlikely to prevent Barça from scoring at least one goal, thus it's likely tie over.”

Wayne is no more optimistic. “Of course not” he said, when asked if City could still reach the quarter finals. “My heart says we have a chance. My mind tells me not to be silly. But you never know in football. We have nothing to lose so I expect us to go out and attack. We have great forward players. Aguero, Negredo, Nasri, Silva, Navas, so you never know.”

All hope not lost

So it’s not all doom and gloom for City fans. As Daryl points out, “we have no pressure for the second leg. So we can concentrate on having a good time and learning from the experience. Maybe if we score an early goal it will be very interesting.”

And Conor seems quietly confident that we might be surprised on Wednesday night. “I think turning the result around will be a big challenge but Barça have lost two out of their last three so are not playing to their usual high level. City are coming off the back of their League Cup Final win and we have shown we can beat the top teams away by beating Bayern Munich in the final group game, so if we can play to our highest level, and key players such as Yaya, Kompany and Aguero have a good game I think we can pull it off.”

Whatever the result, there’s no question that March 12, 2014 is a day these four fans will be remembering for many years to come. "If somehow we manage to win I will be happy and will be reminding all my Barcelona friends until the next time" says Daryl. "If we lose I will go into hiding.”

“Here's to a thoroughly enjoyable game” concludes Ben. “And let’s hope it’s the first of many CL ties over the upcoming years.”

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