Mon, 28 Sep 2020

MADRID, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona face Bayern Munich in their Champions League quarterfinal on Friday night, knowing their season and possibly the future of coach Quique Setien depends on beating the German powerhouses.

Defeat in Lisbon would bring a disappointing season to a disappointing end, put Barca on the first plane home and could see Setien shown the door after fewer than eight months in charge.

Setien has some big decisions to make between now and Friday, with Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet and Nelson Semedo likely to line up in defense in front of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. However, in midfield and attack, Setien has to decide not only who will start, but also what formation he will use against Bayern.

Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal are both available again after suspension kept them out of Saturday's relatively comfortable if not entirely convincing 3-1 win over Napoli.

Busquets is almost certain to return in the middle to control the game, while Vidal's energy is always useful in a team that sometimes lacks movement in front of the ball, and the Chilean will no doubt be anxious to face his former club.

However, Frenkie De Jong had a successful return to the starting 11 against Napoli, where he was given a free role and was arguably Barca's standout player along with Lionel Messi.

If De Jong continues alongside Busquets, that would only leave space for one more midfielder, with Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Roberto and youngster Riqui Puig all looking to claim the final spot.

Rakitic played on Saturday, but mixed some excellent football with errors such as the rash foul which gifted Napoli a penalty in first-half injury-time, while Sergi Roberto provided energy all though the game.

One solution for Setien could be to change his formation from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, leaving Messi and Luis Suarez in attack, playing either Rakitic or Vidal in the center and moving Sergi Roberto to the right.

Such a move would still give Jordi Alba space to attack down the left, while Sergi Roberto's presence would give Barca greater cover against Bayern's own attacking left-back David Alaba.

If Setien opts for a 4-4-2, then Antoine Griezmann would presumably be the attacker to miss out and would raise further questions about the future of the French international, whose work rate cannot be faulted, but who has so far failed to truly gel with Messi and Suarez.

Meanwhile, Puig and Ansu Fati would have to wait for their chance on the bench, with neither likely to be risked from the start against such experienced opponents, though they may be called as impact subs if Barca find themselves behind in the second half.

Barcelona have mixed memories of their previous meetings against the German champions, with a 5-3 aggregate win over Bayern in the 2015 semifinals helping to erase memories of a painful 7-0 aggregate defeat at the same stage two years earlier.

Suffice to say, a repeat of the former result would be a huge morale boost for both the players and Setien, but a defeat would probably draw the curtain on the coach's brief reign at the Camp Nou, and to avoid that, he needs to get everything right.

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