Barcelona have a lot of pressure riding on them heading into Wednesday’s Round of 16 UEFA Champions League showdown with Lyon, having failed to muster an away goal in the first leg of the matchup.
Lyon and Barcelona played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg, essentially forcing Los Blaugranes to win on Wednesday, being that we know a match at the Camp Nou isn’t going to be scoreless — that never happens. Any non-scoreless draw would see Lyon advance, due to the potential pivotal away goal.
We expect Lyon to bunker early and often, in an effort to “park the bus” and limit Barcelona’s scoring chances, with a few counterattacks mixed in. Going toe-to-toe with Barca in their home venue wouldn’t be a sound strategy for them.
And for Barcelona, it starts and ends with Lionel Messi. He’s one of the greatest players in the world, but he needs to show that, having struggled in Champions League play in the past — especially compared to his counterpart, Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays his best on the CL stage. Messi will need to score or create for his teammates, just as Ronaldo did yesterday — netting a hat trick in the team’s 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid.
Given what’s at stake, we believe this match will be tight in the first half, and possibly even throughout. Barca can’t afford to concede a goal, and Lyon really can’t afford to play any other way.
How to watch Barcelona vs Lyon
Date: March 13, 2019 (Wednesday)
Time: 8 p.m. GMT
Betting odds: Barcelona -400, Lyon +1100, draw +570
Prediction: A scoreless first half forces Barcelona to open things up and break down Lyon’s bunker, leading to an early goal in the second stanza, and, eventually, a 2-0 victory.