FC Barcelona travel to Germany as they look to make a statement in the UEFA Champions League. The Catalan giants are set to face off against Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk away from home this time. It will be their fourth group game of the 2023/24 Champions League campaign.
Heading into this game, Barça will be very aware of one thing. A victory at Volksparkstadion would guarantee a place in the competition’s knockout stages. A huge goal for Barcelona at this point in time, Xavi will be expected to field a strong lineup.
Here is how FC Barcelona could line up against Shakhtar Donetsk in Hamburg.
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen
Few adjectives would be able to describe his masterful performance against Real Sociedad. The saves he made were not just of great numerical value but also significant in terms of quality. Ter Stegen will want to keep a clean sheet in this game as well judging based on his confidence at the moment.
Left-back: Marcos Alonso
The Spaniard has not had many chances to shine this season. Constantly overshadowed by Alejandro Balde, this game could give him his opportunity. With Balde needing rest, Xavi could reward Alonso’s patience with some game time against Shakhtar.
Centre-back: Inigo Martinez
The recent clash against Real Sociedad brought to light the competitive nature of Inigo Martinez. Shunned by the crowd from the first moment, Inigo put up a valiant display that could get him a chance against Shakhtar as well.
Centre-back: Ronald Araujo
Barça’s hero against Real Sociedad, Ronald Araujo has earned his place as a team captain. The Uruguayan defender will likely be given another opportunity to shine and protect Barcelona in Hamburg.
Right-back: Joao Cancelo
After two different attempts at trying to play Joao Cancelo as a right-winger, Xavi ought to return the Portuguese star to his original place. Much more fluid and creative as a fullback, Cancelo should ideally return to his specialized role.
CDM: Oriol Romeu
For quite some time now, not a lot of Oriol Romeu has been seen. The Spanish veteran will likely get his chance to step on as a starter for Barcelona in Germany, however. His performance will be crucial in assessing if he can regain his prominence within the team.
CM: Fermin Lopez
While he was unable to have his typically dynamic impact against Real Sociedad, Fermin Lopez still remains motivated. He will likely get a chance against Shakhtar as well, especially given the fact that he scored against this particular opponent last time out as well.
The young Barcelona midfielder will be suspended for the upcoming La Liga game against Alaves. As such, Xavi will likely use him against Shakhtar knowing that he will get rest when they play Alaves. Gavi’s tenacity and technical ability could both be crucial for Barça.
Left-winger: Ferran Torres
With Joao Felix having been rather frustrated at his performances as of late, Xavi could opt to rest him. In his stead, Ferran Torres could likely step up as the left-winger. He is the only right-footed winger apart from Felix and adds a more natural fit to the left wing than either Lamine Yamal or Raphinha.
Centre-forward: Robert Lewandowski
Similar to Felix, Robert Lewandowski is also struggling in front of goal. Both the star forwards are experiencing some of their worst goal droughts in recent memory. As such, the Polish striker will want to do his best to ensure that he does not come away empty-handed from Hamburg.
Having come on as a substitute against Sociedad, Raphinha may end up starting against Shakhtar. In the event that Cancelo moves back to the right-back position, Raphinha will likely be the one to take over on the wing for Barcelona.