The Catalans face the daunting task of traveling to Bayern Munich for a do-or-die clash in the Champions League on the final group stage matchday. A defeat, coupled with negative results elsewhere, could force them out of the competition.
It could have been a lot worse, but in the end, Barcelona escaped with a goalless draw against SL Benfica in their Tuedsay’s Group fixture. The Blaugrana are facing the prospect of elimination from the competition, which could be confirmed on matchday six if certain results don’t go their way.
Barcelona are second in their group after five matches – eight points behind a perfect Bayern. Crucially, the Spanish giants are only two ahead of Benfica, whom they held to a 0-0 draw in a crucial tie on Tuesday night.
Should Xavi Hernandez’s team suffer defeat at the hands of Bayern and Benfica beat Dynamo Kyiv in their final group game, they will be knocked out of the competition.
Nonetheless, Xavi is optimistic of his team’s chances of progression, saying as much during his post-match press conference. The Spaniard stated that they can go to Munich and beat Bayern – who have a spotless record after five matchdays.
“What makes me most optimistic is seeing the team playing in this way.
Playing like this we can compete with anyone. Seeing what I’ve seen [against Benfica], we can go to Munich and win. The positive news is we still depend on ourselves.”
“Being positive, I think we played well. The idea is catching on. We just lacked that goal. This is the Barca we want but we must be more clinical. That’s one goal in two games — and that was a penalty.”Xavi said.
While they were dominant territorial against Benfica, Barcelona nearly were at the wrong end of the scoreline. Centre-back Nicolas Otamendi had a goal ruled out for the visitors, while striker Haris Seferovic came up with one of the misses of the season in the final minutes of the match.
Conversely, the Blaugrana created a few good chances of their own.Memphis Depay was guilty of missing his shooting boots, Yusuf Demir hit the bar, and Ronald Araujo had a goal ruled out for offside. In the end, nothing could separate the two sides, whose fates remain intertwined ahead of the deciding matchday.