Barcelona will be bidding to end a disappointing Champions League campaign on a positive note when they make the trip to the Czech Republic on Tuesday to take on Viktoria Plzen.
The Catalan outfit have missed the chance to qualify for the last-16 stage of the competition, instead finishing third to drop into the Europa League, while Viktoria Plzen will end the group stage in fourth position.
It was always going to be a huge ask for Viktoria Plzen to pick up positive results in Group C considering the strength of their opposition, and it is not too much of a surprise to see them bottom of the section on zero points.
Michal Bilek’s side suffered a 5-1 defeat to Barcelona in their first game in the group on September 7, before losing 2-0 to Inter Milan and 5-0 to Bayern Munich in their next two fixtures.
Viktoria Plzen have conceded four times in each of their last two games in the competition, meanwhile, losing at home to Bayern and away to Inter, which has left them firmly rooted to the bottom of the table ahead of their home clash with third-placed Barcelona on Tuesday night.
The six-time Czech First League champions are competing in the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2018-19, so it is a success for them to be here, even considering their disappointing results.
Bilek’s team will enter this match off the back of a 3-0 win over Zlin in the league on Saturday, which has left them top of their domestic table, seven points clear of second-placed Slavia Prague.
Barcelona’s failure to qualify for the last-16 stage of the Champions League for the second season in a row was confirmed last Wednesday when Inter recorded a 4-0 win over Viktoria Plzen, with Xavi’s side dropping into the Europa League ahead of their clash with Bayern.
The German champions proved to be too strong for their opponents at Camp Nou, recording a 3-0 victory, with the result meaning that the Catalan outfit have picked up just four points from their five games in the section, boasting a record of one win, one draw and three defeats.
The team’s failure to qualify for the knockout round of the competition will cause more financial issues, but there is no serious pressure on head coach Xavi considering the team’s form in La Liga.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Valencia has moved Barcelona, temporarily at least, to the top of the table, boasting 31 points from their 12 matches, and they have now been victorious in their last three in Spain’s top flight since the 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in El Clasico on October 16.
There is not too much for the visitors to play for on Tuesday other than pride, but Xavi will want to put together a run of wins ahead of the break for the World Cup, with Barcelona only having three more matches against Viktoria Plzen, Almeria and Osasuna before the campaign is halted.
Viktoria Plzen Champions League form:
Viktoria Plzen form (all competitions):
Barcelona Champions League form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
We say: Viktoria Plzen 0-2 Barcelona
Barcelona have struggled in the group stage of this season’s Champions League, but the visitors should be far too strong for their opponents here. Viktoria Plzen have conceded 20 times in their five games thus far, but we are not expecting a huge victory on Tuesday, only predicting two goals.