Following the Bayern Munich defeat, Barcelona is searching for their first Champions League win of the season when they take on Benfica.
The Catalan side is coming off their best performance of the campaign over the weekend in a 3-0 win over Levante.
The match against Benfica is rather important as Barcelona sit bottom of group E with zero points. The last thing they want is to go another game without a win and put their progression out of the group at risk.
Barcelona will look to keep the good vibes rolling against a tough Benfica side
Benfica was held to a scoreless draw by Dynamo Kyiv but are on a good run of form in the Liga NOS, sitting at the top of the table, having won all seven of their matches so far.
Barcelona know this is going to be a tough test but they do have cause for optimism. The win against Levante was important but even more so was the return of Ansu Fati. The 18-year-old scored on his return and has brought a renewed sense of hope.
The players, however, may have to overcome their own manager in the process given what Ronald Koeman said during his prematch press conference.
“We have to be realistic, right now, with the changes we’ve had in the team, it’s hard to be at the level of the top teams,” said Koeman.
Those are not exactly the words a player wants to hear from their manager nor does it inspire confidence. It’s not the first time the Dutchman has tried to temper expectations and it’s among the reasons why supporters are clamoring for his departure.
Ronald Araujo accompanied Koeman in the press conference and had a completely different mentality.
“Barcelona aim for everything, we are Barcelona and we have to fight for everything, to win all the tournaments we play in,” Araujo said.
“We can’t just turn up and see what happens.
“We go to win and compete with the best and [to] win it all.”
The Uruguayan added that they are focused on winning the game and picking up the three points. He also referenced the Levante match and what Fati’s return has done for the club and the players in the locker room.
Despite some poor performances Barcelona do go into the match as favorites. In the seven games these two sides have faced one another, the Spanish giants have won three, drawn three and only lost once.
What Benfica have on their side is they are playing the game at home. Even with better squads, Barcelona tend to struggle on the road.
With Bayern Munich looking like the runaway favorites to win the group, the remaining three sides are set to be locked in a battle for second place. For Barcelona, it would be an immense failure if they do not manage to get out of the group.