Quite possibly the fiercest fixture of the Champions League group stage this weekend has its second leg on Tuesday and hosts Manchester City are looking for revenge. It's been almost two weeks since Barcelona spanked one of their own, Pep Guardiola, and his City side on his Camp Nou return. Since then, The Sky Blues have put an end to a dreary six-game winless run after their emphatic 4-0 victory at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
Kevin de Bruyne and Vincent Kompany were fit enough for the travelling squad on the weekend and the Belgian duo could well take part against Barcelona. However, Guardiola's biggest problems will once again come at right-back. In a presser before the game, the Catalan confirmed that both Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta will remain sidelined for the Group C clash. This leaves him with the option of Fernando, who debuted in the full-back position at West Brom, and 19-year-old Pablo Maffeo, who probably isn't experienced enough to come face to face with Neymar.
The visitors have problems of their own though also; Luis Enrique will be without Jeremy Mathieu (suspended), Jordi Alba (hamstring) and Gerard Pique (ankle) in his defence and will be forced to line-up a makeshift backline.
If that wasn't enough to worry about, Andres Iniesta sustained a knee injury in a recent La Liga game which will keep the Spanish maestro out of action for up to 8 weeks.
What are they saying?
Guardiola spent four years in management at Barcelona and believed they are the best side in the world - but says he has no doubt in City's ability to win, even in tasks as daunting as this. "We will try," he said. "I have never thought that we can't win a football match and I never will. Even when we lost 4-0. It's difficult and we know we need to play almost perfectly to win - and if not, we will congratulate them and move on. Maybe we are going to change the way we press, our build up, control. I would like to play in [a] good level for 90 minutes."
Over at the Barca presser, they were not short of praise for the City squad. Lionel Messi ranked Sergio Aguero as 'one of the best', Ivan Rakitic expressed his wish to work with Guardiola while Enrique looked towards City's future. "Pep has made an impact in three months. The future for City is bright. They will get better with his ideas and understand them more," the Barca boss said.
Stylistically, the two sides play some of the most attractive and intriguing football in the world. The history behind Guardiola, Barcelona and his philosophies hype the game up itself - City are going through transition and Tuesday night will be their a second chance at their biggest test this season.
Should City stick to the status quo in massive European fixtures, they will undoubtedly play well but shoot themselves in the foot to avoid the best possible result. And that's how this writer sees this game going; the away side have their defensive vulnerabilities but MSN more than makeup for it - expect goals.