Ronald Koeman has welcomed first-choice goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen back into his Barcelona squad for Wednesday’s Champions League group game with Dynamo Kiev at the Camp Nou.
The Germany international is in line to make his first appearance of the 2020-21 season after recovering from a knee operation in August. Neto has deputized in Ter Stegen’s absence but may have to make do with a place on the bench.
Midfielder Riqui Puig is also back in the 21-man squad after being left out for the weekend’s trip to Alaves. Ronald Araujo, Samuel Umtiti, and Philippe Coutinho miss out through injury.
Barcelona head into the match top of Group G after kicking off their campaign with victories over Ferencvaros and Serie A champions Juventus.
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Dynamo Kiev Hit By Covid-19
Dynamo Kiev has traveled to Spain without 13 first-team players. A host of players missed the trip after testing positive for Covid-19, while Serhiy Sydorchuk is suspended and Nikita Burda, Oleksandr Tymchyk, and Volodymyr Kostevych are injured. Their selection problems mean Dynamo Kiev has just 13 players from their A-squad list available for the match.
Kiev is yet to win in the Champions League in 2020-21. The team was beaten 2-0 by Juventus in their first game and were held to a 2-2 draw by Hungarian champions Ferencvaros last time out.
Manager Mircea Lucescu spoke about the prospect of facing Barcelona ahead of the match and doesn’t fancy the Catalan giants’ chances of winning the tournament, as reported by Sport.
I honestly think that right now Barça aren’t at the necessary level to win the competition. It’s true they’re doing well with younger players, but for that reason they need time. I think that at the moment, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are a step ahead of Barça.
After what happened in Lisbon (against Bayern Munich) it’s normal that Barça needed changes. They’re playing well in Europe, but they’re finding it a bit harder in Spain because teams know them much better.
Barcelona’s last Champions League win came back in 2015, and fans will need no reminding the club has suffered painful exits at the hands of Roma, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich in the past three seasons.
Koeman to Rotate?
Koeman could be tempted to rotate his side for Wednesday’s clash. The Catalan giants have a formidable record at home in the Champions League and have gone 37 games without defeat at the Camp Nou.
Barca has had a hectic schedule since starting their season and play again on Saturday in La Liga against Real Betis. The weekend’s clash is something of a must-win for Koeman after his team dropped points for the fourth league game in a row against Alaves last time out.
The Dutch coach is being tipped to rest captain Lionel Messi. The Argentine has played 90 minutes in every game for Barcelona and Argentina so far in 2020-21 but could get some rest on Wednesday, according to Marca.
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