Following a huge win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday league duty, Barcelona has a business trip on Tuesday: the beautiful Barysaw in Belarus, for a key Champions League match against BATE Borisov. The weakest team in the group had a shocking 3-2 win over Roma on matchday two, but now they'll face the current European champions twice, and that is not good news.
Barça needs to win both games to clinch an early place in the knockout stages, without having to face the strongest sides in Group E with an unnecessary pressure to get victories just to qualify for the Round of 16. Coach Luis Enrique is aware of the importance of this game, and will certainly not take the two games against BATE for granted. We'll see how seriously he's taking the matches by his lineup selections.
For Tuesday, this might be the preferred eleven:
Alves - Bartra - Vermaelen - Alba
Rakitic - Mascherano - Roberto
Munir - Suárez - Neymar
In his eternal saga of finding a trust-worthy defense, Enrique might find in Marc Bartra and Thomas Vermaelen, the best defenders of this season, a good pairing. The Belgian center-back will probably get his medical clearance, and should get a start. Plus, Lucho can use this opportunity to rotate the squad a little, and after resting Javier Mascherano on Saturday, he is likely to bring back the Argentinian as a midfielder, giving an important day off to Sergio Busquets, the player with most minutes so far. Ivan Rakitic badly needs a rest, but without any midfielders on the bench, the Croatian is likely to stay, but will probably get substituted early on depending on how the game goes.
In the attack, Suárez and Neymar are good to go. The Brazilian certainly wants to build upon his magical four-goal performance against Rayo, and the Uruguayan is also keen to continue his great start to the season. Enrique usually alternates starts with Munir and Sandro, and the former is likely to get a starting slot on Tuesday night.
We asked our community to pick their favorite lineup, and this was your choice:
4-3-3: Ter Stegen | Alves, Bartra, Vermaelen, Alba | Busquets, Rakitic, Roberto | Munir, Suárez, Neymar
Other than Busquets for Mascherano, it's the same lineup. We think alike!