Barcelona can move on to the Round of 16 with a win over Spartak Moscow, whose injury list is longer than most kids' Christmas letters to Santa.
Unai Emery and Spartak have a legitimate injury crisis ahead of today's critical match against Barcelona. All three of the club's goalkeepers are injured, so there's a good chance reserve keeper Sergei Chernyshuk will start between the posts. Add to that issue a long list of players who will not be available and Spartak's slim chances to surviving the group are virtually non-existent.
Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from their shocking defeat to Celtic in the last round of matches. Perhaps they took the Scottish club too lightly, perhaps they just had a bad day, whatever the issue, Tito Vilanova will expect a better performance from his players today. Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué are back healthy and have bolstered the defense, easily Barca's biggest weakness so far this season. Sergio Busquets is available again after missing both Celtic matches serving a suspension.
With the exception of Alexis Sanchez's knee injury, all of Barca's attacking players are healthy and available for selection. Given the state of Spartak's roster, you'll have to forgive them if they have to look in their eyes of a starving man standing in front of a buffet.
A victory for the Blaugrana qualifies them for the Round of 16 and the big question is whether Spartak or some combination of the weather and fake grass will be the bigger hurdle. I'm voting for the conditions personally.
Spartak Moscow injuries and suspensions
Out: Artem Rebrov (shoulder), Andriy Dikan (shoulder), Sergei Pesyakov (foot), Artem Dzyuba (hamstring), Welliton (), Sergei Parshivlyuk (knee), Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (groin), Romulo (knee), Aiden McGeady (foot), Nicolas Pareja (suspended). In doubt: None.
Barcelona injuries and suspensions
Out: Marc Bartra (groin), Alexis Sanchez (knee). In Doubt: None.
All three of Spartak's goalkeepers are injured, so that's the biggest crisis on top of a mountain of injury issues. Marc Barta and Alexis Sanchez both face several weeks out.
Match Date/Time: 10 p.m. local, 12:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
TV: FOX Soccer (U.S.), Sky Sports 2 (U.K.), Sportsnet World (Canada)
Online: FOX Soccer 2 Go (U.S.)