Ferencváros TC (4th, 1pt) vs FC Barcelona (1st, 12pts)
Competition/Round: 2020-21 Champions League, Group G, Matchday 5
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Lionel Messi, Marc-André ter Stegen, Philippe Coutinho, Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué, Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo, Samuel Umtiti (out)
Ferencváros Outs & Doubts: Eldar Ćivić (doubt)
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Thursday)
Venue: Puskás Aréna, Budapest, Hungary
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (BLR)
VAR: Vitali Meshkov (RUS)
How to watch on TV: Galavision (USA), BT Sport ESPN (UK), Canal+ Sport 2 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 1 (India), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
Following the season’s best performance and a dominant La Liga win over Osasuna on Sunday, Barcelona return to action in the Champions League for what will be their last away game of the group stage against Ferencváros in beautiful Budapest, Hungary.
Barça have played two very good games in a row for what seems like the first time in forever, and that’s with all the changes and injuries that this crazy post-pandemic schedule has forced all teams to navigate. Ronald Koeman’s biggest challenge as Barça coach is consistency, and this team might, maybe, perhaps, have begun to find that.
It’s important to point out that the last two wins came against Dynamo Kiev and Osasuna who looked pretty bad in the games, and Ferencváros is up next. A third big win and a third great performance against a third straight bad team should obviously be taken with a grain of salt, but it’ll be certainly better than three bad performances and three narrow victories — or worse.
Lionel Messi is once again being rested, which is hugely important and a nice change of pace when we’ve all been used to the captain playing 90 minutes of every game, even the ones that didn’t matter that much. The players travelling to Hungary are more than good enough to win, though, and three points with a healthy margin will practically guarantee first place in Group G thanks to the big gap in goal difference over second-place Juventus even though the Old Lady plays at Camp Nou next week.
Making sure the Juve games is completely meaningless so the team gets another chance to rest in this crazy December is the goal here, but playing well and winning big with players who don’t get a lot of chance to play is also important.
Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Neto; Dest, Mingueza, De Jong, Firpo; Pjanic, Busquets; Trincão, Pedri, Dembélé; Braithwaite
Ferencváros (4-3-3): Dibusz; Lovrencsics, Blažič, Frimpong, Heister; Sigér, Kharatin, Somália; Zubkov, Uzuni, Nguen
With or without changes, this should be a comfortable enough match for what looks like an on-form Barça team: 3-0 to the good guys.