Madrid, Oct 19 (IANS) Spanish football club Barcelona will travel to Belarus on Monday ahead of their Champions League tie against Bate Borisov on Wednesday.
Bate were originally thought to be the whipping boys of the group but the newly crowned champions of Belarus showed in their last game that they are more than that when they beat Roma 3-2 in their last group match, after taking an early 3-0 lead and Barcelona will have to play a lot better than they did in defeating Rayo Vallecano 5-2 on Saturday in order to avoid another upset, reports Xinhua.
Although Saturday’s margin of victory may appear comfortable, in fact Barcelona were all over the place in defence but for Neymar who scored four goals, Luis Suarez and the work of Claudio Bravo in goal, the result could have been very different.
Bravo is likely to be rested in Belarus with Ter Stegen returning in goal while Luis Enrique will hope that Javier Mascherano will be able to provide move control in defence.
With Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi both still injured, Munir could replace Sandro Rodriguez in attack while Sergio Roberto could drop back to right back after another poor display from Dani Alves on Saturday.
Barcelona are not the only Spanish side in Champions League action on Tuesday. Valencia will hope to continue the feel good factor in the wake of their 3-0 win at home to Malaga at the weekend when they play at home to Belgian league leaders Gent.
The main source of controversy at Valencia is the bad relationship between striker Alvaro Negredo and coach Nuno Espiritu Santo and Negredo was left out of the Valencia squad for Saturday’s win.
Valencia have won one and lost one in their group stage and the two consecutive matches against a theoretically weaker side should put them in a strong position ahead of a trip to Russia to face Zenit St. Petersburg.