Barcelona’s quest for their first-ever Europa League title continues with a round-of-16 tie against former UEFA Cup conquerors Galatasaray.
The Blaugrana, who have enjoyed quite a renaissance since the turn of the year, are overwhelming favourites to reach the competition’s quarter-finals for the first time.
Stuck in mid-table lethargy in the Turkish Super Lig, Galatasaray already look like a doomed outfit here despite going unbeaten in Europa League Group E.
Barcelona’s first Champions League group stage elimination in 20 years has forced the Camp Nou hierarchy to make a significant financial sacrifice to strengthen the squad in the January transfer window.
Inspired by the arrivals of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Adama Traore and Ferran Torres, Barca swept Napoli aside in their mouth-watering Europa League play-off tie 5-3 on aggregate.
Coming into this fixture, Xavi’s men have won four consecutive outings in all competitions, netting a resounding average of 3.5 goals per game.
Additionally, the Blaugrana have not only been victorious in all three previous home matches against Turkish visitors, but they have also won their only two-legged tie against such opposition.
Galatasaray have qualified for the Europa League round of 16 as Group E winners without losing a single match (W3, D3) despite scoring just 1.16 goals per game on average.
However, the Turkish heavyweights lament a disastrous overall record in two-legged ties against Spanish clubs (W1, L6), losing each of the last five in a row.
Galatasaray have also lost their last six European encounters against Spanish sides, scoring just two goals while conceding 21 goals in return.
Domenec Torrent’s men suffered a 2-0 defeat away to domestic rivals Konyaspor at the weekend, bringing a four-game unbeaten streak to a halt (W2, D2).
Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti are all long-term absentees for Barcelona, while Gavi will serve a one-match ban for the yellow cards accumulation.
Ex-Barca flop Arda Turan is the only player that will not be at Torrent’s disposal.
Barcelona Potential Starting XI:
(4-3-3): Marc-Andre Ter Stegen; Serginio Dest, Ronald Araujo, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba; Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong; Adama Traore, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres.
Galatasaray Potential Starting XI:
(4-5-1): Inaki Pena; Omar Elabdellaoui, Marcao, Victor Nelsson, Patrick Van Aanholt; Erick Pulgar; Berkan Kutlu; Olimpiu Morutan, Ryan Babel, Kerem Akturkoglu; Mostafa Mohamed.
Barcelona vs Galatasaray Prediction
Based on Barcelona’s recent showings in both Europe and La Liga, we expect Xavi’s men to have a walk in the park against the underperforming Turkish giants.
Barcelona 3-0 Galatasaray.
- Kylian Mbappe – Real Madrid or PSG?
- Manchester United plotting summer move for Raphinha
- Paris Saint-Germain confirm Angel Di Maria exit amid Juventus links
- Carlo Ancelotti confirms Isco will leave Real Madrid in the summer
- Crystal Palace vs Manchester United Preview – Prediction, team news, line-ups