Jordi Vinyals, manager of the Juvenil A team / PHOTO: ÁLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB

FC Barcelona’s U-18 team, trained by Jordi Vinyals, will be the first FC Barcelona football team to take to the field in an official tournament. Vinyals’ men will kick off their NextGen Series bid on Wednesday, August 15, at 20:00 (live on Barça TV) against Anderlecht, a team that brought up the likes of Vincent Kompany and Romelu Lukaku, at the Miniestadi.

Just days before the tournament, on August 11, the U-18 team will make the trip the capital of the Balearic Islands to play a friendly against RCD Mallorca in the Tournament of Light.

Second year in the NextGen Series

It’s worth mentioning that Barça have been placed in Group 1, along with Tottenham Hotspur and Wolfsburg, besides Anderlecht, of the NextGen Series.

After a pre-season stage in El Montanyà, the Azulgranas travelled to Holland to play in PSV’s summer tournament. The Dutch team’s summer tournament showed a preview of what spectators can expect in the first match of the NextGen Series. Vinyals’ men won the tournament over stiff international opposition that will also feature in this season’s edition of the NextGen Series, like Ajax, Zenit St. Petersburg, AZ and Copenhagen, as well as Anderlecht.

From 16 to 24 teams

The NextGen series has increased the number of teams from 16 to 24 for the  2012/13 season. The teams have been divvied up into six groups of four. The U-18 teams will play a Champions League style format, where each team will play against their opponents both at home and away in the group stage. The Azulgranas, therefore, will play a total of six matches in the first phase of the competition.

The two best teams of each group will progress to the Round of 16, along with the four best third-place finishers.

Last season, Barça’s U-18 A team fell 0-3 in the quarter-finals to Ajax Amsterdam. The Dutch team made it to the final but lost to Inter Milan in a penalty shootout.

Two meetings in the Otten Cup

Barça’s U-18 team beat Anderlecht in the final of the Otten Cup (0-1) this past weekend un Eindhoven, Holland. Previously, in the group stage, both teams tied (1-1) which saw both teams qualify for the semi-finals.

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