Between their fantastic form in La Liga and their convincing win over BATE Borisov on Matchday 2, Barcelona fans don't have any concern whatsoever that their team will fail to defeat Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday afternoon. Whether they play 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 and whether they play their best team or rest some stars, Los Cules have been brilliant recently and look much better than the side who drew AC Milan 2-2 in their first round of UEFA Champions League action.
After securing their first ever league title in the 2010-11 season, things aren't going as well for Czech side Plzen during this campaign. They're sitting in fourth in their domestic league, could only manage a draw against BATE on Matchday 1, and were definitively defeated by AC Milan in Matchday 2. It will take nothing short of a miracle for them to secure a result at the Camp Nou, and this really is not the least bit patronizing.
With a massive match against Sevilla looming large for Pep Guardiola, he could opt to rest some of his stars. Gerard Pique is unavailable, while Carles Puyol and Eric Abidal could probably do with a rest. At least one of the two will almost certainly start, while Javier Mascherano will probably start in defense no matter what, whether Guardiola opts for a back three or a back four.
At least one of Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta will likely be rested, and it would not be surprising to see Thiago Alcantara and Seydou Keita get a run out. Barcelona will still be playing mostly a first team, but they should be able to win comfortably with a team of half first choice players, half bench players, and it will be interesting to see how Guardiola chooses to manage his side ahead of his big weekend fixture.
FC Barcelona vs. Viktoria Plzen
Game Date: Wednesday, October 19
Time: 2:45 pm ET, 7:45 pm BST, 8:45 pm local
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
TV: FOX Sports Net (USA - Regional), FOX Deportes (USA - Spanish), Rogers Sportsnet One (Canada)
Online: FoxSoccer.tv (USA)
FC Barcelona Projected Lineup (3-4-3): Valdes; Abidal, Mascherano, Alves; Busquets; Keita, Thiago, Iniesta; Villa, Messi, Pedro
Viktoria Plzen Projected Lineup (4-5-1): Cech; Limbersky, Cisovsky, Bystron, Rajtoral; Pilar, Horvath, Jiracek, Petrzela, Kolar; Bakos