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Barcelona predicted lineup vs Porto

An out-of-sorts Barcelona host Porto in the Champions League group stage on Tuesday evening.

Xavi’s side have failed to win three of their last five games but arguably haven’t put together a convincing performance since a pair of 5-0 wins against Real Betis and Antwerp in September.

The Catalan coach revealed that the team “have focused a lot on positional play” during the international break. Yet, little process seemed to have been made in a stodgy 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.

Here’s the XI Xavi may deploy for an improved display this midweek.

Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan won the Champions League with Manchester City last season / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

GK: Inaki Pena – Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s underused understudy could get another runout if the German is not deemed fit by Tuesday.

RB: Joao Cancelo – The former Benfica player will relish any meeting with eternal rivals Porto.

CB: Ronald Araujo – After a successful but draining international break with Uruguay, Araujo was rested against Rayo but could come back into the side this midweek.

CB: Jules Kounde – Gus Poyet had “zero doubts” about Kounde when he stumbled across the French defender at Bordeaux. “He had such personality, he wanted to learn, he was physically gifted, even though he is not so tall, he is very good in the air, he is strong,” Poyet gushed.

LB: Alejandro Balde – No Barcelona player has carried the ball further forward than the flying full-back this season.

CM: Pedri – A yawning 13 months have elapsed since Pedri last started a Champions League game. The midfielder hasn’t won a match in the competition since September 2022.

CM: Frenkie de Jong – Making his first appearance since September on Saturday, De Jong admitted: “I wasn’t at my best today. I didn’t feel good.”

CM: Ilkay Gundogan – The reigning Champions League-winning captain almost had his career ended in 2014. “The surgeon wanted to put a big screw in my back but thankfully I found someone else,” he explained.

RW: Lamine Yamal – “The best and most remarkable thing about Lamine is his football intelligence,” Barcelona’s former sporting director Ramon Planes claimed earlier this season.

ST: Robert Lewandowski – Only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more Champions League goals in the history of the competition than Lewandowski.

LW: Joao Felix – During his Benfica days, Felix only faced Porto twice, scoring in a 2-1 win back in 2019.

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