FC Barcelona From Messi to their home form
Five matches separate Barcelona from European glory and Ernesto Valverde‘s side have plenty of weapons at their disposal if they are to come out on top in the competition.
They will all play into their hands as they look to lift the trophy on June 1 at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
We look at seven reasons to believe that they will take major honours once more.
A Messi on form is synonymous with a fearsome Barcelona.
The Argentine wants this Champions League badly and hasn’t been in this kind of form for some time.
He is the competition’s joint-top scorer with eight goals and has an ability to open up games that cannot be questioned.
Against Lyon, he was seen pressing and pitching in with the dirty work when necessary.
If he remains on form, the end result may be lifting the title on June 1 at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
With the victory against the French side, Barcelona set a new record in the competition with 30 home games without tasting defeat.
There have been 27 victories and three draws in that time, surpassing the 29 undefeated games that previous record holders Bayern Munich managed.
Although Barcelona have doubts around them on the road, the home factor is a big boost in decisive moments.
It is scary for opposition teams to step onto the Camp Nou turf and that can be a decisive factor.
After Manuel Neuer exited with an unfortunate performance against Liverpool and Jan Oblak shipped three goals in Turin, it is undeniable that Marc-Andre ter Stegen is the tournament’s best remaining goalkeeper.
None of the other seven goalkeepers come close to the German, who is going through the best form of his career.
The Champions League, as we all know, is decided on moments like an individual error, a controversial decision or a decisive save.
Ter Stegen can help with the third of those.
The starting line-up for Barcelona’s main side is recited without much trouble.
But the most important moment of the season comes at a time when players aren’t always readily available.
Philippe Coutinho showed signs of improvement against Lyon and Samuel Umtiti is available again after a long period out through injury.
Nelson Semedo‘s improvement in recent weeks and the contribution of Arturo Vidal make Barcelona a side with up to 15 starters.
Gerard Pique has scored in two consecutive games and now has seven goals for the season, madness for a defender.
Pique is now going through one of his best, if not the best, season as a Barcelona player.
He is a leader, a guarantee in defence and pushes the team in the most delicate moments.
Arthur‘s pass for the second Barcelona goal on Wednesday was a throwback to the best through balls from Xavi Hernandez.
These are big words, but the Blaugrana have got the closest thing to him back in midfield.
The Brazilian takes charge and allows Sergio Busquets to be vigilant against the opposition, while he offers more.
Against Lyon, he completed 98.6 percent of his passes (71 out of 72) and, with such a midfield influence on the game, they look more like the Barcelona of the golden age.
Regardless of the opposition and who they are paired with on Friday, what is left in the Champions League is a gift for them in terms of the remaining teams.
Atletico, a recent executioner on two occasions, bid farewell to the competition along with four-time winners of the last five, Real Madrid.
Barcelona know that this season provides them a unique opportunity to regain their European dominance.