Barcelona Handed Tasty Europa League Last 16 Tie

Barcelona Handed Tasty Frenkie de Jong

Getty Barcelona want to keep Frenkie de Jong.

Barcelona have been handed a tasty Europa League last 16 tie against Galatasaray after being paired with the Turkish giants in Friday’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland.

Xavi’s side booked their place in the last 16 with an impressive 5-3 aggregate win over Serie A side Napoli. A 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou was followed by a 4-2 win at the Diego Armando Stadium in Italy.

Barca now face another tricky test to make it through to the quarter-finals. Galatasaray booked their place in the last 16 of the competition by winning Europa League Group E, finishing top of a group containing Lazio, Marseille, and Lokomotiv Moscow.

The first leg is scheduled to take place at the Camp Nou on Thursday, March 10. The two teams will then meet again one week later at the Nef Stadyumu in Turkey for the return.

Here’s a look at the draw in full:

Rangers vs Red Star Belgrade

Braga vs Monaco

FC Porto vs Lyon

Atalanta vs Bayern Leverkusen

Sevilla vs West Ham United

FC Barcelona vs Galatasaray

RB Leipzig vs Spartak Moscow

Real Betis vs Eintracht Frankfurt

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Barcelona Set For Reunions

The Europa League draw will see Barcelona come up against some familiar faces. Former assistant coach Domènec Torrent is the current manager of the Turkish side but spent five years at the Camp Nou working with Pep Guardiola.

Torrent followed Guardiola to Bayern Munich and Manchester City before taking over at Gala and has previously spoken about his admiration for the coach, as reported by The Guardian.

“The biggest misunderstanding with Pep is that phrase which gets used badly: tiki-taka. Meaningless passes. Positional play is something else. People think Pep demands 40 passes before scoring,” he said. “No. If Pep can attack in two seconds, he does. People say: ‘Pep Guardiola? You won’t see the ball.’ Well, that bit is true. But they think he wants possession for the sake of it. No. They don’t know he has the best defensive record, don’t see how he adapts, how he’s a better, more varied manager all the time. When he goes, we’ll finally say how good he was, what a genius.”

The game will also see Barca come up against goalkeeper Inaki Pena and former midfielder Arda Turan. The stopper moved to the Turkish side on a loan in the January transfer window and has made three appearances so far for his new club.

Barcelona Favorites to Progress

Galatasaray have been regulars in the Champions League over recent years but are not the same force of old. The team are currently down in 13th place in the Turkish Super Lig after 26 games played.

The two teams have met many times previously in Europe, with all matches taking place in the Champions League. Barca have won five of the eight meetings, Gala have one victory and there have been two draws.

Xavi dismissed Barca’s favorites tag after seeing his team see off Napoli 5-3 on aggregate and urged his team to simply focus on their next game, as reported by Sport.

“We are not favourites at all. We have to keep working with humility. Enjoy it today but then Sunday,” he said. “A very good performance, but this continues, we’re only in the last 16 of the Europa League, we haven’t won anything.”

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