Football

Champions League | Barcelona, United face the heat

Acid test: Barcelona’s Ansu Fati and Sergino Dest will need to up the ante against Dynamo Kyiv.   | Photo Credit: LLUIS GENE

Barcelona and Manchester United, two clubs with a storied history in the Champions League, face daunting times ahead as they restart their continental campaign on Wednesday after the international break.

Losing at Young Boys last month created new doubts over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s suitability to manage United. A 4-2 loss at Leicester on Saturday only magnified them, with United unable to benefit significantly yet from the return of Cristiano Ronaldo by picking up only one point in nine in the Premier League. Things do not get any easier for United, which hasn’t won a trophy since the Europa League in 2017, as Atalanta arrives at Old Trafford for the Group F game on Wednesday before Liverpool visits on Sunday.

Sitting in last place in Group E, Barcelona needs a home win against Dynamo Kyiv to have a realistic chance of advancing to the knockout stage. The Catalan club has made it past the group stage every season since 2001-02.

Barcelona opened with 3-0 losses to both Bayern Munich and Benfica. It is a point behind third-place Dynamo. and four behind second-place Benfica. Bayern leads with six points from two matches.

Bayern Munich returned to form with a 5-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Next up is Benfica away on Wednesday in Group E.

Many of Europe’s prestigious clubs have recently endured outings in Europe’s secondary competition. Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and Juventus have all featured in the Europa League over the last decade.

But for Barcelona, relegation would be particularly deflating, especially coming after the departure of Lionel Messi.

Wednesday’s fixtures:

RB Salzburg vs Wolfsburg, Barcelona vs Dynamo Kyiv (10.15 p.m.); Lille vs Sevilla, Manchester United vs Atalanta, Zenit vs Juventus, Benfica vs Bayern Munich, Chelsea vs Malmo, Young Boys vs Villarreal (12.30 a.m. Thursday).


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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 11:44:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/champions-league-barcelona-united-face-the-heat/article37079635.ece

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