Four games in the Champions League to come this week and four games featuring the best of Brazil. Time to look at what’s in store
PSG vs Barcelona
Club captain Thiago Silva is set to miss-out on the clash, due to muscular pain in his left thigh. Marquinhos is certain to start for the home side, and will be up against the deadliest attack in Europe, composed of Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and compatriot Neymar.
On the other hand, Maxwell will be competing with France international Layvin Kurzawa for a starting spot, on the left-hand side of the back-line. Lucas Moura is experiencing his best goal-scoring season to date, netting 15 strikes. PSG coach Unai Emery has been very satisfied with his work-ethic, which could favor him over Angel di Maria and Julian Draxler. If Lucas starts, he will most likely cause Jordi Alba a lot of trouble, as he always does during their duels.
In the Barcelona camp, Neymar should start for the Catalans in his normal position on the left. He will have to deal with either one of Serge Aurier or Thomas Meunier, who are expected to be marking him. Rafinha, who had fractured his nose a week ago, is expected to make his comeback on the bench.
Benfica vs Borussia Dortmund
Besides Leicester City, the Germans are the only remaining Champions League side that doesn’t have any Brazilians in the squad. Benfica will, as usual, rely on young Ederson in goal. In central defense, their longest serving captain ever, Luisao, is expected to start.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a speedster, known for exploiting spaces and outpacing defenders. In attack, Jonas is fighting against time to pass a late fitness test. Julio Cesar, Jardel and newcomer Filipe Augusto are expected to be on the bench.
Real Madrid vs Napoli
The champions of Europe always rely on Marcelo and Casemiro. The left-back has just returned from injury, so it will be interesting to see whether he can keep up with high intensity football for 90 minutes, especially when tracking back to deal with Jose Callejon.
Casemiro will be required to provide defensive balance in the midfield battle against Maurizio Sarri’s man. He usually thrives in these big games, so let’s see if he will live up to his reputation. Danilo picked up an injury against Osasuna and is a doubt.
It might be for his own sake, as the Brazilian is having a terrible season and should logically lose out to Dani Carvajal. Napoli have their own Brazilians. But Jorginho has chosen to represent Italy, whereas Allan has been relegated to the bench, in the favor of Piotr Zielinski. However, Sarri has used Allan in several away games, as a tactical option for defensive balance. He might have a chance to be involved.
Bayern Munich vs Arsenal
The Bavarian giants have one of the strongest squads in Europe. Rafinha will have to sit on the bench, as club captain Philipp Lahm is one of the world’s best at his position. Franck Ribery will most likely miss the tie due to injury, which will make room for Douglas Costa on the left.
Last time Bayern met the English side, he had an excellent performance which I’m sure Hector Bellerin still remembers. Despite his recent statements about being unhappy after Guardiola’s departure, Carlo Ancelotti has assured that Douglas remains a key figure.
The only Brazilian at Arsenal is Gabriel Paulista, but he is considered a squad-rotation player this season, and will be content with a place on the bench.