The Spanish giant Barcelona makes face has a new reality of in competition in Europe second-stage competition but will be thoroughly tested when Serie A title hunter Napoli come to town for the Europa League playoffs Thusday.
The Catalans crashed out of the Champions League in the group steps with just two goals scored in six matches. the arrival of Xavi Hernandez was not enough to revive the clubfortune in a competition he has won five times.
A meeting with in Napoli side currently combat for the Serie A title would be worthy of the continent’s elite club competitionand indeed The sides met in the last 16 of the Champions League just two years ago.
Yet Barca instead do face has a real challenge in this match bad just to get to last 16 as he tries to salvage some pride in Europe and go all way to the final in Seville in Can.
“It’s not a favorable draw. They’re one of the toughest sides we could have faced at Champions League level team”, said Xavi during the draw made.
Catalan, who lie fourth in La Liga a whopping 15 points behind leaders of Real Madrid, had appeared in the knockout rounds of the Champions League in each of the last 17 seasons, last missing out in 2003-04 when they played in the UEFA Cup.
Barcelona weren’t the only high profile name to be hit out of the League of champions prematurely, with Borussia Dortmund also drop down in the Europa League.
The Germans are going face Scottish champions Rangers with the first stage at Signal Iduna Park while home side wait and see if Erling Haaland will play.
The Norwegian, scorer of 23 goals in 21 games in all competitions this season, missed Dortmund last two outputs against Bayer Leverkusen and Union Berlin in the Bundesliga.
Seville also fall out of the League of championsbut it might fit a club who has won the Europa League or son predecessor, the UEFA Cup, a record six times including most recently in 2020.
Away goals no more
It will be also be guided by perspective of go all the way way to the final in their own stadium while entertaining Dinamo Zagreb in the playoffs.
There is a representation of the English Premier League in the playoffs of the new Europa Conference League, with Leicester City taking on Danish outfit hike.
celtic will play the norwegian champions Bodo/Glimt who did not play competitively match from the packaging up son domesticated campaign two months ago.
“Bodo are similar to us when we enter our League qualifiers champions like they are in pre-season mode to the minute,” Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou said to the Scottish media.
“It could potentially work in both ways. We have the match sharpness, but they might have a freshness about them.”
The Conference League features other former European champions in the shape of PSV Eindhoven and Marseilles, who take on Maccabi Tel-Aviv and Qarabag in Israel of Azerbaijan respectively.
the second legs in both competitions will be played next week and like in the League of championsaway goals rule has been dropped, meaning ties will go straight to overtime and penalties if the level is at an end of the return match.