Barcelona takes on AS Roma in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal at the Nou Camp on Wednesday, and it's largely expected that Lionel Messi & Co. will advance.

By 90Min
April 03, 2018

Barcelona takes on AS Roma in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal at the Nou Camp on Wednesday, in an encounter which the hosts are strong favorites to win.

Nevertheless, the visitors will be hoping that their status as underdogs could work in their favor by taking the pressure off them.

Wednesday's game will be the fifth Champions League encounter between the two sides, who are tied at one win apiece. However, Roma's last visit to the Nou Camp ended in a humiliating 6-1 defeat in the 2015/16 group stage.

The Italians will probably need to put on a defensive masterclass to have any hope of achieving a more favorable result this time.


Recent Form

Barcelona remain on course to finish the season unbeaten in both La Liga and the Champions League.

The only flicker of encouragement for Roma is that Barca struggled in their last match in La Liga against Sevilla on Saturday, in which they had to fight back from 2-0 down to earn a precious point.

The Italian side have enjoyed an impressive run of form themselves, winning six out of their last eight games in Serie A. However, their last showing in the league was no more impressive than Barcelona's; Roma needed a late equalizer to earn a point away to Bologna on Saturday.

Unlike Barcelona, who swept Chelsea aside with ease in the last round, Roma only reached the Champions League quarterfinal by the skin of their teeth, edging out Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk on away goals.


Classic Encounter

It cannot have been much fun for Roma fans, but Barcelona's wonderful display against the Italian side in the Champions League group stage of 2015/16 was a joy to watch for everyone else.

The match finished 6-1, with Edin Džeko scoring a consolation goal in stoppage time to add a tiny speck of respectability to the scoreline.

Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi each scored a brace, with Gerard Piqué and Adriano also finding the net for the Catalans.

Roma were so comprehensively dazzled by Barcelona's fearsome array of attacking talent that the final score actually flattered the Italians.

The statistics speak for themselves: Barca had 71% possession and 19 shots on goal (including 12 on target), and completed 775 passes - more than twice as many as their opponents.


Team News

The bad news for Roma is that both Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets are expected to be fit for Wednesday's game.

Messi did not feature in Argentina's recent friendlies and was not included in the starting lineup for Barcelona's match against Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday. However, he came on as a substitute and scored to earn his side a draw.

Busquets was expected to be sidelined for three weeks after sustaining a foot injury against Chelsea earlier this month, but has made a speedy recovery and is expected to feature on Wednesday.

Even worse news for Roma is that one of their key players, Belgium international Radja Nainggolan, suffered a muscle injury against Bologna on Saturday and is now a doubt for Wednesday's game.

Winger Cengiz Ünder and midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini may also be unavailable, having both sustained injuries during the international break. Ünder injured his knee on international duty with Turkey, while Pellegrini suffered a calf injury in Italy's 1-1 draw with England at Wembley.

Potential Barcelona Lineup: Ter Stegen; Alba, Umtiti, Piqué, Vidal; Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitić; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé.

Potential Roma Lineup: Becker; Florenzi, Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Gerson, De Rossi, Strootman; Perotti, Džeko, El Shaarawy.


Prediction

Roma can be under no illusions about the magnitude of the task facing them on Wednesday. 

Realistically, even a narrow defeat would probably be considered a positive result by the visitors, especially if they can notch up an away goal. This would be more than either Juventus or Chelsea managed at the Nou Camp in this season's Champions League - both sides were drubbed 3-0.

With Barcelona likely to be at full strength and Roma potentially missing three key players, it is very difficult to see the Italians giving the hosts any serious difficulties. Roma are unlikely to capitulate as abjectly as they did in 2015, but Barcelona will still probably brush them aside with relative ease.

Predicted result: Barcelona 3-0 Roma

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