With a win tonight against AC Milan at the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona will all but book their place in the knockout stages of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League. Regardless of the result in tonight's other group H fixture between AFC Ajax and Celtic, Barcelona will not mathematically qualify, although it would take a considerable swing to knock Gerardo Martino's side into a Europa League berth. But really, that's what's expected of the club. In fact, judging by the reaction of some Culés to last season's humbling aggregate defeat against Bayern Munich, the Blaugrana are often expected to reach the final, if not win the competition outright.
Even if that's the viewpoint of a vocal minority, all Culés anticipate a place in the knockout stages and it's comforting to see that Martino's side are in position to deliver with a couple of matchdays to spare.
The three points however are far from secure. Just a fortnight ago, Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at the San Siro and even then, they were made to work for that point, requiring an equaliser from Lionel Messi to cancel out Robinho's early opener. Last season, Milan shocked the world with a comfortable 2-0 win over the heavily favoured Blaugrana. So even if Barça have demonstrated that they are capable of overwhelming the Rossoneri, we've been caught out too many times to get carried away.
Regardless of their current form, the Italians are a dangerous side, and on their night, they could easily pick up the three points themselves.
The only question is: will it be their night? Will they find a way to bounce back from a string of disappointing results, or will Gerardo Martino's side canter to yet another victory? Predict the score of tonight's match by commenting with your prediction below. Best of luck!