The last time FC Barcelona were in UEFA Champions League action, they were being out-classed by the eventual competition winners, Bayern Munich. The depleted Barcelona defense had already shipped an unfathomable four goals in the first-leg, following up that under-whelming performance with another disappointing showing at the Camp Nou. Three goals later, Bayern Munich had cemented their place in the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley -- also writing their name in the record books thanks to their unprecedented seven-goal margin of victory over the two legs.
The success of 2011, 2009 and 2006 seemed like a distant memory. FC Barcelona had been brought crashing back down to earth.
Unfortunately, Tito Vilanova has been robbed of his chance at redemption -- leaving Barcelona firmly back at square one. Under Gerardo Martino, the Blaugrana are very much a work-in-progress. Adapting to new methods, constantly evolving in order to better compete with Europe's elite. Time will tell whether Gerardo Martino's reign as Barca head coach is successful or not; but we will be given a glimpse into our possible future tonight, when Barcelona take on AFC Ajax in the opening match of their 2013/14 UEFA Champions League campaign. Despite the managerial changes and last season's humiliating defeat against Bayern, Barcelona are still one of the front-runners for the trophy.
Ajax are expected to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience; Real Madrid defeated them 4-1 last season -- twice. Barcelona should surely do the same, especially now that Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld have moved on, right? Football is rarely that simple -- but you can try your hand at predicting the score in the comments section below. All correct predictions will be logged, and the community member with the highest number of correct predictions at the season's end will win themselves a brand-new, 2014/15 FC Barcelona jersey of their choice. Best of luck!
More from Barca Blaugranes:
- UEFA Champions League: FC Barcelona vs AFC Ajax: Match Preview
- FC Barcelona News: 17 September 2013; Barça Sign Nine Year Old Swede, San Mames Hosts Inaugural Game
- FC Barcelona News: 16 September 2013; Preparations Begin for Champions League, Sergio Busquets Reaches Milestone
- Segunda División: Mini El Clasico; FC Barcelona B 2-0 Real Madrid Castilla: Match Review
- La Liga: FC Barcelona 3-2 Sevilla FC: Player Ratings