Dynamo Kiev (4th, 1pt) vs FC Barcelona (3rd, 3pts)
Competition/Round: 2021-22 UEFA Champions League, Group E, Matchday 4
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Pedri, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Agüero, Sergi Roberto, Martin Braithwaite (out)
Dynamo Outs & Doubts: Artem Besedin, Vladyslav Kulach, Vitaliy Mykolenko (out)
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 2, 2021, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 4pm ET, 1pm PT (USA), 1.30pm IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: NSC Olympiyskyi, Kiev, Ukraine
Referee: Ovidiu Haţegan (ROU)
VAR: Marco Di Bello (ITA)
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA), BT Sport 3 (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), SONY TEN 1 (India), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
Following a disappointing draw at home to struggling Alavés at the weekend, Barcelona return to action for the biggest game of their season so far as they travel to Ukraine to face Dynamo Kiev.
These two teams faced off two weeks ago in what turned out to be Ronald Koeman’s last European game in charge and it was a crucial but depressing 1-0 win that kept Barça alive in the group ahead of this one.
The math is pretty simple for Barça: if they win on Tuesday and Benfica get no more than a point against Bayern Munich in Germany, the Catalans will have the chance to clinch second place in Group E and eliminate Benfica at home with a victory on Matchday 5, a scenario that seemed almost impossible when the Portuguese destroyed Barça in Lisbon just over a month ago.
Xavi Hernández will most likely be Barça’s coach in that Benfica match, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves. Interim manager Sergi Barjuan will be in charge on Tuesday and has the pressure to lead his team to a victory that Barça desperately need.
Thankfully for Barjuan he gets some serious reinforcements as Frenkie De Jong and Ansu Fati, who were rested at the weekend, are expected to return to the starting lineup. Ronald Araujo and Ousmane Dembélé are also back, making Barça’s squad significantly stronger at the right time.
As they proved at Camp Nou two weeks ago, Dynamo will not be an easy opponent. Even though Barça were awful on the night, the Ukrainian champions were organized and tough to break down, and they are always a very difficult proposition in their home statium.
Barça need a serious, commanding team performance and they’ll also have the individual quality to find the openings and the goals to get them a win. Because Barjuan is an interim and a win is truly all that matters here, I will give Barça a pass if they can’t play brilliant football as long as they get three points. I seriously do not want to depend on a trip to Munich to decide my team’s fate in Europe this season.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Mingueza, García, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dest, Memphis, Fati
Dynamo (4-2-3-1): Bushchan; Kędziora, Zabarnyi, Syrota, Karavaev; Sydorchuk, Shaparenko; Tsygankov, Buyalskiy, De Pena; Verbič
The team will be stronger and really up for this one, and while I fully expect Dynamo to put up a good fight this game just means too much and Barça will really want it: 2-1 to the good guys.