No Messi, no problem? How ironic that the first match of Messi's spell on the sidelines would come against one of the teams against whom he has put in one of his most iconic performances. The last time we were paired up with Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League, Lionel Messi ran riot with a sensational five goal display against the Germans. It ranks as one of his finest hours and surely Bayer fans will be breathing a sigh of relief as Messi prepares to watch on from the stands.
Culés on the other hand might feel a little concerned; the weekend performance against Las Palmas was flat and more than a little laboured. The newly-promoted Islanders aren't even that good -- so that's a possible issue for Luis Enrique. Factor in our opening match day draw with AS Roma and well, this match is a must win.
For the visitors, there is very little pressure -- they can turn up and give it their best; no one is expecting them to win or even secure a result, despite their status as second seeds. Barcelona on the other hand need a win -- and the whole team will be under scrutiny given Messi's injury.
Who will step up to try and fill the void? Will anyone falter in his absence? So many subplots...how do you see this one going? Let us know by commenting with your prediction in the comments section below. Best of luck!