Barcelona takes on Dynamo Kiev in the group stages of the Champions League on Wednesday at the Camp Nou and will face a visiting side without a host of players due to Covid-19.
The Ukrainian side announced their 19-man squad to travel to Spain for the match on Monday and confirmed they are missing a host of players.
Dynamo Kiev released an official statement earlier in the day to confirm six more players had tested positive for coronavirus. Georgy Tsitaishvili, Denis Garmash, Mikkel Duelund, Alexander Karavaev, Tudor Belutse and Mykola Shaparenko will all miss the trip along with assistant head coach Emil Karas.
Mircea Lucescu’s side also confirmed that all those affected “are self-isolating and feel satisfactory.”
Dynamo Kiev also announced captain Serhiy Sydorchuk is ruled out due to suspension, while Nikita Burda, Oleksandr Tymchyk, and Volodymyr Kostevych are injured.
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Barca to Face Rookie Goalkeeper
The team news from Dynamo Kiev means the visitors will be without goalkeepers Heorhiy Bushchan and Denys Boyko for the match. Youth team stopper Ruslan Neshcheret is therefore expected to play against Barcelona.
Neshcheret only turned 18 in January and made his Dynamo debut at the weekend in his team’s 2-1 league win over Dnipro. The teenager has never played in the Champions League before but will now take on Lionel Messi and Co.
Dynamo Kiev head to the Camp Nou with just a point from their first two games in the group stages. Lucescu’s side was comfortably beaten 2-0 by Juventus in Ukraine in the opening matchweek and was then held to a 2-2 draw at Ferencvaros.
Real Warning for Barcelona
Barcelona was already heavy favorites to win on Wednesday, particularly as they boast a formidable home record in the Champions League. The Catalan giants have not lost in their last 37 matches at the Camp Nou in Europe’s top competition.
That run will be expected to continue against a weakened Dynamo Kiev side, but Barcelona should take note of how bitter rivals Real Madrid fared when they took on a Shakhtar Donetsk side missing several players because of Covid-19.
Zinedine Zidane’s side hosted Shakhtar in the opening round of fixtures in the 2020-21 Champions League at home but were shocked 3-2 by the visitors who were effectively forced to play their second string.
The Real Madrid boss took responsibility for the embarrassing defeat after the match, as reported by ESPN.
It’s a bad feeling. Everything came together. We made a mistake with the first goal, and then we lacked confidence. It’s just as well my players reacted in the second half. It’s a bad game, a bad night. I’m the coach, I have to find the solution, I didn’t find it tonight. We lacked a bit of everything. Above all confidence, which is the most important thing… We know the situation we’re in. It’s our second bad game. Now we have to prepare our next game. It’s clear that I’m responsible.
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman can ill-afford any more poor results after seeing his team drop points for the fourth La Liga games in a row against Alaves on Saturday. His team has performed better in the Champions League so far this season, and he’ll be hoping that continues on Wednesday.