Barcelona are in good form if their 5-0 demolition of Celta de Vigo is any indication, but they’ll need to play an absolutely perfect game to overturn their 0-4 deficit from the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain.
Barcelona have to either win by 5 goals, or by a score of 4-0 and through penalties. Both cases seem far-fetched against the powerhouse PSG team. Given the away goals rule, even a 5-1 win - a fantastic result - would see them knocked out.
It goes without saying that the strikers cannot afford to miss any easy chances, and indeed, may need to create wonder goals out of nothing.
Marc-André ter Stegen will not have a lot of defensive support, so he will have to sweep and make a few excellent saves to keep the game alive.
Luis Enrique will name a three-man line, and the defenders have to be able to avoid any individual mistakes as well as help bring the ball out from the back.
Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suárez will have to be difference-makers. They may need to turn, for example, what would otherwise be a 2-0 victory into a 4-0 scoreline through a couple moments of magic.
Neymar also could potentially influence the game through his knack of winning fouls. Neymar’s tricky dribbling often results in defenders taking him out, particularly in the penalty box. Some would accuse him of diving, and I hope he does not resort to that, but drawing a foul could potentially earn Barcelona a goal and maybe even a man advantage.
If Barcelona get that sort of break early enough, their chances multiply. They go from 1% to 5% maybe, so it’s still a ways off, but a confident start could really set the tone.
That’s why I hope Lucho prepares the team to see it in parts. Get the first goal first, then worry about the rest. Sometimes big dreams don’t seem as impossible if you break it up into easier steps. If the team goes 2-0 up into the dressing room at half time, they will come out in the second half in full belief that they can make it 4-0.
Will it happen? I wouldn’t ever put money on it, but if you had to pick a team to do it...