Barcelona vs Ferencvaros Koeman set for European bow as coach of Blaugrana
Whilst the painful memories of the club’s 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich still hurt deeply, Barcelona will look for a fresh start in the Champions League when they begin their 2020/21 campaign against Ferencvaros at the Camp Nou.
After a bright start domestically, a draw with Sevilla and a shock defeat to Getafe has made Ronald Koeman aware just how big a challenge he has on his plate at the Catalan club, although he could hardly have asked for a more favourable start to the tournament.
Ferencvaros, whilst perennial challengers in Hungary, haven’t played in the Champions League proper since 1995/96 and will make their return at one of the most iconic stadiums anywhere in the world.
The Hungarian side are in fine form though, having started their own domestic season without tasting defeat in their opening five matches.
Furthermore, in the qualifying rounds they progressed past Celtic and Dinamo Zagreb, two of the tougher away trips anywhere on the continent.
In terms of team selection, Koeman has a difficult balancing act to accomplish with the first Clasico of the season coming on Saturday.
Despite having assured supporters he would not be giving Lionel Messi a rest from this clash with Ferencvaros, you do wonder if the sensible thing may be to reshuffle his forward line.
However, having backed himself into a corner by informing Ousmane Dembele he isn’t needed at the club, it would be a problematic decision if he was to immediately reinstate the Frenchman into the starting line-up.
On the other hand, handing Messi a rest would perhaps give the former Feyenoord coach the chance to indulge Antoine Griezmann’s desire to play in a central role, although his own form with the Catalan club continues to disappoint.
Ferencvaros have had a day extra to prepare for the trip to Barcelona than Los Cules, having eased to a 2-0 victory against Kisvarda on Friday evening.
When is it? Tuesday, October 20
Where is it? Camp Nou
What time does it kick-off? 21:00/15:00 (CEST/ET)
Where can I watch it? TUDN and Unimas. You can also follow minute-by-minute updates on MARCA.com