Barcelona host Royal Antwerp at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys this Tuesday in the first game of the Group Stage of the Champions League. Both sides are back in the Champions League after both sides won their domestic leagues with Group H consists of Barcelona, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp
Barcelona currently sit top of La Liga after five games with four wins and one draw, leaving them on ten points and two points from the top of the table Real Madrid.
Last season’s Champions League campaign was painful for Barcelona. In a group with Bayern Munich, Inter MIlan and Viktoria, Barcelona finished third after two wins, one draw and three losses. In the Round of 32, Barcelona drew Manchester United. Marcos Alonso and Raphinha both scored in the 2 - 2 draw at home, and despite a penalty from Robert Lewandowski in the first half, goals from Fred and Atony gave Manchester United the 4 - 3 win on aggregate and sent Barcelona crashing out.
Barcelona are currently in form, only dropping points once to Getafe in the opening game of the season where after Raphinha and Getafe’s Jaime Mata were dismissed, they played out a 0 - 0 draw. Pedri and Ferran Torres both scored in the 2 - 0 win over Cadiz, Gavi, Frenkie de Jong, Torres and Lewandowski all scored in the 4 - 3 win over Villarreal. Jules Kounde and Lewandowski scored in the 2 - 1 win over ten man Osasuna but most recently Joao Felix, Lewandowski, Torres, Raphinha and Joao Cancelo all scored in the 5 - 0 win over Real Betis.
Royal Antwerp currently sit in the fourth spot in the Belgian Pro League after six games, with three wins, two draws and one loss, two points off top of the table.
Antwerp competed in the Europa Conference League last season. They made it all the way to the Play-off round of the Qualifiers, but they met Istanbul Basaksehir. Dinis Almeida scored in the 1 - 1 draw in the first leg and despite a penalty from Michael Frey, Berkay Ozcan, Stefano Okaka and Danijel Aleksic all scored in the 3 - 1 win at Antwerp. This meant that at the last qualifying hurdle, Antwerp fell to a 4 - 2 loss on aggregate. However, their win in the Play-off round gave them their path into the group stage. Vincent Janssen scored in the 1 - 0 win in the first leg and Gyrano Kerk and Michel-Ange Balikwisha scoring in the second leg giving Antwerp the 3 - 1 win over AEK Athens on aggregate.
The Great Old are in good form with three wins and two draws in their last five games. Most recently Antwerp travelled to Westerlo. Janssen, Jelle Bataille and Arbnor Muja all scored in the dominant 3 - 0 win. Antwerp had 60% of the possession but just four shots on target.
Barcelona and Antwerp have never met professionally, but considering this is the Belgian side’s first time playing in the Champions League, the three points are likely to go to Barcelona and likely in convincing fashion, the Spanish side having scored eight goals already this season.