FC Barcelona (4th, 0pts) vs Dynamo Kiev (3rd, 1pt)
Competition/Round: 2021-22 UEFA Champions League, Group E, Matchday 3
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Pedri, Ronald Araujo, Eric García, Ousmane Dembélé, Martin Braithwaite (out)
Dynamo Outs & Doubts: Artem Besedin, Vladyslav Kulach (out), Mykyta Burda (doubt)
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 6.45pm CET (Barcelona), 5.45pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 12.45pm ET, 9.45am PT (USA), 10.15pm IST (India)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Clément Turpin (FRA)
VAR: Delajod Willy (FRA)
How to watch on TV: TUDN (USA), BT Sport 1 (UK), Canal+ Sport 4 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
How to watch online: Paramount+ (USA), BT Sport Live (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Following a solid performance and an important win over Valencia at the weekend, Barcelona return to action for the second of three giant games this week as they welcome Dynamo Kiev to the Greatest Stadium on Earth, in one of the two early kickoffs on Wednesday’s slate of games in Matchday 3 of the Champions League group stage.
Thanks to the two abysmal 3-0 losses to Bayern Munich and Benfica, this has become quite simply the biggest European game in recent Barça history. They literally cannot afford to not make the knockout stages, and they have two must-win games in a row against the Ukrainian champions.
Barça actually got lucky with the schedule, because Benfica will also face Bayern twice in a row over the next three weeks. That means that if Barça win both of their games against Dynamo and Benfica get no more than a point from their two meetings with the Bavarian Thanoses, Barça can actually eliminate Benfica and clinch second place, at home, in Matchday 5.
That scenario is realistic. It’s not crazy to think Benfica will lose to Bayern in Germany and get a draw at home, and it is also not crazy to think Barça will be favorites in both games against Dynamo. As bad as the two losses were, they were actually not that tragic in terms of the math. But more than the math, it was Barça’s football that was truly concerning.
But the team is healthier and more talented now, and the win against Valencia was a step in the right direction both tactically and confidence wise. But the pressure is truly on against Kiev, who will come to Camp Nou knowing how vulnerable Barça can be in these must-win scenarios and ready to cause a monumental upset.
El Clásico is on Sunday and Barça cannot get to the weekend with their morale down after a horrible result in Europe. This is as must-win as must-win gets, and a great performance should also be expected from the team because this is Barcelona.
Put on your best shoes, friends. This dance is serious.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dest, Memphis, Fati
Dynamo (4-2-3-1): Buschan; Kedziora, Zabarnyi, Syrota, Mykolenko; Sydorchuk, Shaparenko; Tsigankov, Buyalsky, De Pena; Vitinho
As the legendary Paul Heyman would say, this is not a prediction, it is a spoiler: 3-0 Barça. (Let me be real, though: I just wanted it to sound cool. I’m actually very nervous because we might be in real trouble and tomorrow might be a tragedy but I’m hoping to speak a win into existence.)