Barcelona vs Antwerp

Barcelona vs Antwerp

Barcelona begin their 2023/24 Champions League campaign at home to Belgian champions Antwerp on Tuesday evening.

The Catalan giants have made an unbeaten start to their defence of the La Liga title and bounce into Europe’s premier club competition on the back of a commanding 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis.

Antwerp had to navigate their way past AEK Athens in a two-legged tie to reach the group stage for the first time in the modern history of the competition.

Former Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Alderweireld scored a 94th-minute equaliser to secure the point that confirmed Antwerp as Belgian champions last June. The Flemish upstarts also snagged the Belgian Cup but have the chance to add to their fairytale run with a trip to Catalonia on Tuesday.

Here’s everything you need to know about Barcelona‘s attempts to avoid an upset.

Barcelona vs Antwerp H2H record (All time)

Current form (Last Five Games)


TV channel/live stream

United Kingdom

TNT Sports 4, discovery+ App, discovery+

United States, ViX, Univision NOW, Paramount+, Univision, TUDN App, TUDN USA



Pedri has been hampered by injury in recent years / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Xavi Hernandez is expected to only be missing two players for the midweek clash, but the pair leave a significant void.

The talismanic centre-back Ronald Araujo is not back from a hamstring injury until mid-October. Inigo Martinez has only been afforded 15 minutes off the bench since arriving from Athletic Club in the summer, leaving Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde as the most likely defensive pairing.

Pedri is also struggling with yet another muscular issue. Xavi takes every opportunity to field the wispy midfielder when fit – “I’m just calmer when he has the ball,” the coach has explained in the past – but Pedri is set to sit out the return of European football.

Barcelona predicted lineup (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Cancelo, Kounde, Christensen, Balde; De Jong, Romeu, Gavi; Torres, Lewandowski, Felix

Toby Alderweireld is Antwerp’s captain / TOM GOYVAERTS/GettyImages

All of Antwerp’s outfield injuries have been concentrated in defence unhelpfully. The US full-back Sam Vines is sidelined with a muscular complaint while academy graduate Kobe Corbanie is also a fitness doubt. Former Aston Villa centre-back Bjorn Engels is still on Antwerp’s books even though injury has prevented him from featuring since February 2022.

Alderweireld will likely marshal the backline alongside Borussia Dortmund loanee Soumaila Coulibaly.

Backup goalkeepers Ortwin de Wolf (finger) and Davino Verhulst (knee) solidify Jean Butez’s berth as the team’s number one.

Antwerp predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): Butez; Bataille, Alderweireld, Coulibaly, Wijndal; Vermeeren, Keita; Balikwisha, Ekkelenkamp, Kerk; Janssen

Xavi has a surprisingly wretched record as a manager in Europe’s premier club competition. The four-time winner of the big-eared trophy during his playing days has only ever beaten one team from the dugout and that is Czech side Viktoria Plzen.

If Barcelona can replicate the tempo and fluidity that inspired such a convincing victory over Betis on Saturday, they should be able to get the better of Antwerp on the same ground. However, as Belgium’s established elite found out last term, Antwerp are not to be underestimated.

Prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Antwerp


Read More

Zaļā Josta - Reklāma