In Review

Champions League: Barcelona vs. Man Utd preview, team news, predictions, starting XIs, odds, TV

Can Solskjaer inspire another historic night for United at the Camp Nou?

Barcelona vs. Manchester United
  • What: Uefa Champions League quarter-final second leg (1-0 on aggregate) 
  • When: Tuesday 16 April 
  • Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain 
  • Kick off: 8pm UK time 
  • TV channel and live stream: BT Sport 2 
  • Referee: Felix Brych (Germany)

“And Solskjaer has won it!” These words are etched into the history of Manchester United and fans of the Red Devils will be hoping to hear something similar on Tuesday night when their side face Barcelona.

Ever since Man Utd and Barcelona were drawn together in the Champions League quarter-finals, Old Trafford chief Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been a major topic of discussion.

The Norweigan scored a dramatic last-minute winner for United in the 1999 final win against Bayern Munich which was held at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium.

United supporters around the world will be crossing their fingers that their manager can inspire another historic night for the club in Catalonia.

Defining moment

It’s nearly 20 years since Solskjaer’s winner against Bayern - a goal that defines his career, the BBC reports. The 46-year-old admits that he’s probably watched the goal back a “million times”.

Speaking to BBC Sport Solskjaer said: “That goal has been mentioned a few times, yes. So many people have congratulated me and talked to me about that night. They say ‘it was the best night of my life but don’t tell my wife’ - that kind of thing.

“Funnily enough, I have never seen the full game. I did watch the 15 minutes that I actually played once. Of course, the goal I have probably seen a million times. I don’t mind being remembered for something like that.”

Rashford is confident

United travel to Barca 1-0 down after losing the first leg at Old Trafford. But in the last 16 against Paris Saint-Germain they hit back to qualify after securing a memorable away win in the return fixture. United lost 2-0 at home against PSG before winning 3-1 in the French capital.

England striker Marcus Rashford admits that the task is different in Barcelona than it was in Paris, but the 21-year-old is feeling positive. He told “We’ll always take confidence from that but we also understand that it’s not PSG, it’s a different match, a different atmosphere, it’s a completely different ball game.

“We go there confident but if we’re going to win it’s probably going to be different to how we did it in Paris. For us now we need to forget about the past. We know we’ve done it before, but all the focus has to be on how we’re going to do it again because they’re a strong team.”

Spanish midfielder Juan Mata says “anything is possible” at the Camp Nou. “Being 0-1 behind isn’t a good scoreline, but we are Manchester United and, when you wear this shirt, anything is possible,” said Mata. “It is something that I have already repeated on many occasions, but it is real, and we have experienced it several times this season.”

Stopping Messi at the ‘fortress’ Camp Nou

Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Barcelona have not lost a European match at the “fortress” Camp Nou since 2013.

In that run they have played 30 matches, winning 27 of them, so United have a tough task on their hands if they are to progress to the Champions League semi-finals.

United will be up against a Barca side that features Lionel Messi. The Argentine No.10 has played in 26 of Barcelona’s 30 unbeaten home matches in Europe. He has scored 31 times and provided 11 assists in the run.

The winners of the Barcelona vs. Man Utd tie will face Liverpool or Porto in the Champions League semi-finals.

What the managers had to say

Ernesto Valverde, Barcelona: “We know the opposition will want to counter-attack us but we won’t let that happen by playing well with the ball and moving the ball quickly. It’s not a defensive question, it’s more about going forward. It’ll be important how we start and finish the game. United in the last minutes have something special. We’ve seen that at the Camp Nou before. All you can do is concentrate on what you think is good for you to do. We’ll do that. We’re aware of United’s threats and we won’t let it become an end-to-end game. We’ll look to close the spaces to limit their options.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Man Utd: “We need to score goals. If Romelu [Lukaku], Marcus [Rashford], Jesse [Lingard], Anthony [Martial] or Alexis play, we need a big performance. Paul [Pogba] as well, from all our forward players. We have to defend but we have to have that little bit of extra to score goals against teams like this. I expect whoever is going to start tomorrow, when they’re on the pitch, to know I want to see some good form. Of course, we have to.”

Team news and possible starting XIs

Man Utd injury news and suspensions

United manager Solskjaer has confirmed his squad for the trip to Spain. Matteo Darmian, Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez have returned from injury and are included in the travelling party.

Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly and Ander Herrera are sidelined and Luke Shaw will miss the second leg because of suspension.

  • Man Utd’s travelling squad to Barcelona: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, Diogo Dalot, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Fred, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford
Barcelona injury news and suspensions

Barca rested a number of players for the 0-0 draw against Huesca on Saturday. Messi, Philippe Coutinho, Nelson Semedo, Clement Lenglet, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez all sat out the La Liga game to prepare for Tuesday’s clash.

The London Evening Standard reports that Ousmane Dembele started against Huesca so could be on the bench to face United.

Ivan Rakitić, Sergi Roberto and Thomas Vermaelen are injury doubts and Rafinha is out with a knee injury.

Possible starting XIs

How the teams could line up at the Camp Nou, according to

  • Barcelona possible starting XI (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitić, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé 
  • Man Utd possible starting XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Dalot, Lindelöf, Smalling, Young; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Martial


London Evening Standard: “Barca were far off their best at Old Trafford yet still managed to get a result, and it is unlikely that Messi will be as off-colour as he was in Manchester. Expect United to offer more of an attacking threat at Camp Nou - it would be hard to do worse than the total of zero shots on target they managed in the first leg - but Barca will be fresh and ready. United certainly have a chance if they press well - and especially if they pressure Sergio Busquets, who has looked a weak link in recent weeks - but they are likely going to have to take every chance while somehow keeping Messi quiet. Score prediction: Barcelona 2 Man Utd 1.”

SportsMole: “Barcelona failed to score for the first time in 11 matches last time out but, perhaps more importantly, they kept out the opposition for the ninth time in their last 14 matches. Man Utd need to score if they are to progress, which should set up a more entertaining match compared to last week’s first leg. We are backing Barca to end their recent quarter-final hoodoo with a repeat scoreline from the opening 90 minutes. Score prediction: Barcelona 1 Man Utd 0.”

Barcelona vs. Man Utd betting odds

As of 15 April, see Oddschecker for the latest prices.

Match betting odds
  • Barcelona to win: 2/5 
  • Draw: 9/2
  • Man Utd to win: 17/2
To qualify for the semi-finals
  • Barcelona: 1/9 
  • Man Utd: 9/1
To win the Champions League
  • Barcelona: 5/2   
  • Man Utd: 50/1

Champions League fixtures, TV guide and results

Quarter-final second-leg fixtures and previews
Tuesday 16 April
Wednesday 17 April
Quarter-final first-leg results and reports


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