Barcelona vs Porto

Estadio Olimpico forms the backdrop for a top-table Champions League Group H six-pointer between Barcelona and Porto.

After failing to make it out of the Champions League group stages two seasons in a row, Barcelona made a statement of intent this term by winning their opening three Group H outings by a combined score of 8-1. However, Xavi Hernandz’s side slumped to a 1- 0 defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk last time out, letting the third-placed Ukrainians reduce the distance to only three points going into the final two rounds. Adding to Barcelona’s issues, they barely eked out a 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano at the weekend, losing further ground on the La Liga summit. But if it’s any consolation, the Catalan heavyweights have reigned supreme at their temporary home this season, winning eight out of nine competitive matches at Estadio Olimpico (D1).

Like their hosts, Porto’s bid to reach the Champions League knockouts is on the right path, but it’s anything but guaranteed. Except for a gut-wrenching 1-0 defeat to Barcelona in the reverse fixture, the Portuguese giants have won all three remaining Group H matches, netting multiple goals on each occasion. Yet the ‘Dragons’ have lost all three previous Champions League visits to Barcelona, alarmingly going down to multiple-goal margins on each occasion. There’s no reason for Porto to feel afraid of this trip as they’ve racked up seven wins across their last 13 away games in the Champions League proper (D3, L3). Moreover, Sergio Conceicao’s men have won four consecutive fixtures on the road in the build-up to this trip.

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