In what could be the most intense seven minutes world football has ever seen, Barcelona managed to tear PSG apart and become the very fist team in the history of European competitions to qualify after losing 4-0 in the first leg. And judging by how PSG players looked inexplicably afraid at the Nou Camp on March 8th, one can expect Barcelona to be a serious contender to the final victory if every team behaves like this against them. Here's a quick presentation of Barcelona's strengths,...
One Reason They Could Win It...
Because they're one of the best team in the world?
At the beginning of each season, among the 3-4 polls favourites to lift the Champions League trophy, people will always give FC Barcelona. And there's a very simple reason to that: on paper, they're one of the best teams in the world, if not in the history of football.
Despite a somewhat fragile defence, Barcelona has one of the deadliest attacking forces in the game, with the well-known MSN made of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar Jr.
It's the same stuff behind these three with a team composed exclusively of world class players, all familiar with highly pressure and highly staked games.
...and One Reason They Might Not
They don't look unbeatable anymore
Let's not exaggerate here: Barcelona wins most of their games. Out of 47 games this season, they won 33 and only lost 6. But 6 losses is already as much as their total for their last two seasons, and the defeats they conceded are somewhat worrying.
In particular, that PSG defeat. Against a brilliant PSG team at the Parc des Princes, Barcelona completely drowned, incapable of playing their game against Paris' fierce pressing and great intensity. The attacking trio was completely helpless, muzzled by a brilliant defence. And if it wasn't for an abysmal performance from the Parisians in the second leg, they'd probably be out of the Champions League today.
Watching PSG v Barcelona 1st leg, the likes of Bayern, Real or Juventus, who are probably Barça's biggest contenders to the final victory, now have the recipe to tear this team apart.
The One Stat That Will Make Your Friends Say "Oh, Really?"
Barcelona never lost a game in which Luis Suarez scored... until last weekend
Before their 2-1 loss to Deportivo La Coruna, in which Luis Suarez scored his team's only goal, Barcelona had simply never lost a single game in which their Uruguayan striker had his name on the scoresheet.
The Depor game was the 73rd in which Suarez scored in all competitions with Barcelona (112 goals). Out of the 72 previous ones, Barcelona won 67 and drew 5.
Apart from their magical victory at the Camp Nou against PSG, one wouldn't say that Barcelona is in the form of their life recently. And that says a lot, since they've won seven of their last ten games.
Losing their last game against La Coruna, Barcelona proved that they're going through a kinda tough period at the moment, with a lot of tactical changes and a huge calling into question after the first PSG game. They've pulled it together since then, but never really getting a convincing victory in La Liga. It will be interesting to see how they'll manage their quarter final.
A Little Bit of History
2016/17 is the 27th season in which Barcelona participates in the Champions League, 5 of them having lead to a final victory (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015).
With five Champions League victories, Barcelona has the 3rd all-time biggest total with Bayern Munich and Liverpool. They also lost three finals, in 1961 (against Benfica), in 1986 (against Steaua Bucarest) and in 1994 (against AC Milan).
The Key Player
Didn't expect that, did you? However, Samuel Umtiti has arguably been the most precious player for Barcelona this season.
One simple stat to illustrate that: Barcelona have won every single La Liga game when Samuel Umtiti played (16 out of 16). On the other hand, the Blaugranas have conceded all of their six defeats of the season when he was absent, winning only two games without the French defender and drawing three.