Barcelona will be looking to give their Champions League knockout-round hopes a huge boost when they welcome Inter Milan to Camp Nou for a key encounter on Wednesday night.
The Catalan outfit are third in Group C, three points behind second-placed Inter, with the Italian giants recording a 1-0 victory when the two teams locked horns at San Siro last week.
Barcelona failed to progress through the group stage in the Champions League last season, and the club are facing that possibility again this term, with a total of three points from three matches leaving them third in Group C, three points behind second-placed Inter and six from leaders Bayern Munich.
Xavi’s side opened their group-stage campaign with a 5-1 victory over Viktoria Plzen on September 7 but have lost their last two in the competition, going down 2-0 at Bayern before the loss to Inter at San Siro, with Hakan Calhanoglu scoring the only goal of the contest late in the first half.
Barcelona will be aware of the importance of winning Wednesday’s contest, and they will be pleased to be back on home soil, having not lost at Camp Nou in any competition since May.
While it has been a struggle in the Champions League this season, the Catalan outfit have been excellent in La Liga, making it seven straight victories on Sunday night courtesy of a 1-0 success over Celta Vigo, with Pedri scoring the only goal of the contest in the 17th minute.
Barcelona are once again top of La Liga, level on points (22) with Real Madrid, ahead of this weekend’s El Clasico at Bernabeu, but Xavi’s team cannot afford to look past Wednesday’s huge European affair.
Inter entered the clash with Barcelona last week off the back of successive Serie A defeats to Udinese and Roma, but a huge performance allowed them to secure all three points.
Simone Inzaghi’s side suffered a 2-0 loss to Bayern in their section opener on September 7 but recorded a 2-0 victory away to Plzen before the success over Barcelona, and a total of six points has left them in second position, three points behind Bayern, who are the overwhelming favourites to top the group.
Inter will also enter this match off the back of an important Serie A victory, having beat Sassuolo 2-1, with Eden Dzeko scoring twice for the Milan giants, who are seventh in their domestic table on 15 points.
The Italian giants progressed through the group stage of last season’s European Cup but were beaten by Liverpool in the round of 16, and they have not made it past the first knockout round of the competition since reaching the final eight in 2010-11.
The Black and Blues suffered a 2-1 defeat when they last travelled to Camp Nou in the group stage of the 2019-20 competition, but Barcelona have lost three of their last six Champions League matches in front of their own supporters, which is a record that should hand the visitors confidence.
Barcelona Champions League form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
Inter Milan Champions League form:
Inter Milan form (all competitions):
We say: Barcelona 2-1 Inter Milan
There is no downplaying the importance of this match, with Barcelona in desperate need of all three points to boost their knockout hopes. We are expecting this to be a very tight game, with Inter more than capable of picking up a positive result, but Barcelona should just have enough at home to claim a vital win.