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Galatasaray vs Barcelona, Europa League: Team News, Match Preview

Barça travel to Turkey to play in a crazy atmosphere and fight for a place in the quarterfinals

FC Barcelona v CA Osasuna - La Liga Santander Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Galatasaray SK vs FC Barcelona


Competition/Round: 2021-22 UEFA Europa League, Round of 16, Leg 2

First Leg Result: Barcelona 0-0 Galatasaray

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Dani Alves, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Alejandro Balde (out)

Galatasaray Outs & Doubts: Arda Turan (doubt)

Date/Time: Thursday, March 17, 2022, 8.45pm TRT (local time), 6.45pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 5.45pm GMT (UK), 1.45pm ET, 10.45am PT (USA), 11.15pm IST (India)

Venue: Nef Stadyumu, Istanbul, Turkey

Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)

VAR: Paolo Valeri (ITA)

How to watch on TV: TUDN (USA), Not Available (UK), SuperSport (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 brilliant win over Osasuna at the weekend to strengthen their position in the La Liga Top 4 race, Barcelona return to action to decide their European fate this season when they face Galatasaray at the Nef Stadyumu in Istanbul in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie.

Barça didn’t play their best stuff in the first leg last week and wasted the chance to take a big lead at home, and a goalless draw left everything to be decided in what will be a sensational atmosphere in the Turkish capital. There are no away goals in European competition anymore, so the winner advances while another draw will take us to extra-time and maybe penalties.

It’s a simple task, but not an easy job by any means: Galatasaray proved last week how tough to beat they can be, with former Pep Guardiola assistant Domènec Torrent putting together an excellent gameplan to frustrate Barça’s high-flying attack. Even playing at home in front of a raucous crowd, the Turkish are expected to play in a similar fashion and try to take the game to its latter stages to attempt a remarkable upset.

Xavi Hernández asked for more intensity from his team on Thursday, and every bit of it will be needed. Games played in Turkey aren’t just about the opponent: the fans play a huge part in those matches, and the chance to eliminate the mighty Barcelona will no doubt make the Galatasaray supporters even more fired up for this one.

El Clásico is on Sunday, but that game doesn’t matter for now. Winning the Europa League is an achievable goal, so Barça must be at their best on Thursday. The atmosphere will be incredible, Galatasaray will be tough to beat, and this might not last just 90 minutes.

Let’s dance.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Piqué, Alba; F. De Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dembélé, Aubameyang, Ferran

Galatasaray (4-2-3-1): Peña; Boey, Marcão, Nelsson, Van Aanholt; Antalyali, Kutlu; Kilinç, Feghouli, Akturkoglu; Mohamed


PREDICTION

You cannot take Galatasaray for granted as they proved last week, but I’m expecting a more intense and focused Barça side that will find a way to get the job done: 2-0 to the good guys.