Barcelona head into this year’s Champions League aiming to avoid being knocked out in the group stage as they were last year, and being drawn alongside Bayern Munich and Inter, it’s crucial that they get off to a winning start against Viktoria Plzen.
With Xavi at the helm, Barca have made a strong start to the season, winning three of their four La Liga matches, and by big margins.
The manager has spoken of his desire to rotate his starting lineup for their first Champions League match, but given the importance of it, will likely still field some of his first-team regulars.
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – With no reliable backup option, Ter Stegen is set to retain his place between the sticks.
RB: Sergi Roberto – Roberto has yet to start a match this season, with Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo being preferred at right-back, but will most likely be given a chance against Plzen.
CB: Andreas Christensen – He’s been dropped in the league after starting the first two games but should return to the starting XI with the boss rotating.
CB: Gerard Pique – Has yet to play a single minute this season, and Xavi may well see this as an ideal opportunity to try out his former team-mate.
LB: Jordi Alba – Like Pique, Alba has been dropped to the bench in recent weeks amid uncertainty over his future. A recall is on the cards.
DM: Sergio Busquets – Few players in the side are as undroppable as Busquets, with nobody else in the squad able to do the job that he does at the base of the midfield.
CM: Pedri – Another key player who Xavi rarely drops, Pedri could well be subbed off for Franck Kessie fairly early if all goes well.
CM: Frenkie de Jong – The Dutchman has been overlooked for Gavi so far this season with doubts about his future, but with his immediate confirmed to be at Camp Nou, he could come back into the fold.
RW: Ferran Torres – Raphinha has been the first-choice right-winger so far this season but could be rested in favour of Torres.
ST: Robert Lewandowski – To make absolutely sure the team get the win they need, Lewandowski will most likely start ahead of Memphis Depay.
LW: Ansu Fati – The young winger has played second fiddle to Ousmane Dembele so far; this could be his opportunity to prove his worth.