After the birth of the debut against Espanyol in LaLiga, Xavi Hernández now has the most difficult time yet tomorrow, Tuesday in the Champions League at the Camp Nou. Against Benfica, the new coach is playing the almost definitive option (at the expense of a rather unlikely feat in Munich against Bayern) of overcoming the group stage of the top international competition and qualifying for the round of 16.
Staying alive in the Champions League is not only a sporting objective, but it is also an economic obligation for an entity in a very delicate financial situation and that has budgeted this course to reach at least the quarterfinals of this tournament.
The challenge is even more complicated than the debut in LaLiga, where Barcelona ended up asking for the time against the Blue and White team.
To the sports deficiencies of the Barça fans, who were already cruelly exposed in the match that was played in Lisbon, where Benfica passed over Barça defeating the Catalans 3-0, is added the lack of troops at the coach’s disposal.
For starters, Xavi he will not be able to play the game with born wingers, tral and as required in your style book. Dembélé is still injured and it is not clear that he can be ready for Tuesday, or at least not to be a starter, and also neither Ilias Akhomach nor Abde, the two wingers he used in his debut, are entered for this competition.
Faced with these casualties on the attack wings, Xavi only has Demir as a pure winger and enters the option of relocating Gavi back to the band. Other alternatives would be to take Memphis to the extreme or to place Coutinho, who again gave another recital of apathy and ineptitude against Espanyol.
The problems for the Catalan coach do not end there. Nico and Mingueza withdrew injured from the Camp Nou and Busquets also had to be replaced due to discomfort. It does not seem that neither Nico nor Busquets have anything particularly serious, but what is an irrevocable fact is that the team is caught with tweezers on a physical level and that the plague of injuries continues to mediate the performance of the Blaugrana.
Barcelona only need a victory to ensure a pass to the next round of the Champions League and turn the dreaded visit to the Allianz Arena on the last day into a formality. But the feeling is that Xavi’s team still lacks the same thing as Koeman’s: the ability to be decisive in the rival area as well as security in their own.. After suffering on Saturday, the hardest yet arrived at the Camp Nou on Tuesday. And in Champions.