WATCH LIVE : Barcelona VS Royal Antwep (Uefa Champions League)
The hosts will remain without the services of Ronald Araujo and Pedri due to their respective injuries. Meanwhile, Fermin Lopez is back in the mix after serving a league suspension.
Xavi has the majority of his players fit and he is expected to field a strong XI. He will stick to the 4-3-3 formation, where Marc-Andre ter Stegen will be in goal.
Loanee Joao Cancelo and youth product Alejandro Balde will be the full-backs. The duo is expected to move up the pitch and make life difficult for the opposition’s wide players. In the heart of the defence, Jules Kounde will pair up with Andreas Christensen.
Ilkay Gundogan came off the bench in their last outing despite concerns over his availability. The former Manchester City skipper is expected to start in the Champions League opener and he will have the support of Gavi and Frenkie de Jong.
Teenage sensation Lamine Yamal is expected to feature on the right flank, while Joao Felix is likely to continue on the left after an impressive full debut. Ace striker Robert Lewandowski will be leading the line.
BARCELONA LINEUP (4-3-3)
Ter Stegen; Cancelo, Koundé, Christensen, Balde; Frenkie De Jong, Gavi, Gündogan; Raphinha, Lewandowski, João Félix
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE GAME
The visitors will be without the services of Ortwin De Wolf, Davino Verhulst, Bjorn Engels, Sam Vines and Kobe Corbanie for this fixture against Barcelona.
Royal Antwerp have quite a few injuries to deal with, but they still have some quality players in their ranks that can make a difference. They will start with the 4-3-3 formation and in goal will be Jean Butez.
The back four will comprise Jelle Bataille, Zeno Van Den Bosch, Soumaila Coulibaly and Ritchie De Laet. Bataille and De Laet will start out wide. The duo will have a tough job at their hands as they will look to keep the pacey Barcelona winger quiet.
In the centre of the park, Mandela Keita will star alongside Jurgen Ekkelenkamp and Barcelona target Arthur Vermeeren. The trio is unlikely to dictate the pace of this game. They will have a lot of defensive duties and will look to initiate counter-attacks at every possible opportunity.
Meanwhile, in attack, Michel-Ange Balikwisha and Arbnor Muja will start on the flanks. While they will look to stretch the opposition’s defence, the duo are expected to help out their full-backs by doubling up on the opposition. Their leading goal scorer of the new season, Vincent Janssen will be leading the attack.
ROYAL ANTWEP LINEUP (4-3-3)
Butez; Bataille, Alderweireld, Coulibaly, Wijndal; Keita, Vermeeren; Muja, Ekkelenkamp, Balikwisha; Janssen
Barcelona and Royal Antwerp have only squared up against each other twice. Those meetings took place in the erstwhile Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in the 1965-66 season.Both teams won their home games but the Catalan giants progressed on aggregate.
Barcelona are unbeaten in the league with four wins in their five outings.
The Catalan giants have scored seven goals in their two home matches this season and they are yet to concede.
The Belgian club have only lost one match in all competitions this season.
Their only defeat came against Anderlecht in the Belgian Pro League. Barcelona have won just two out of their last eight Champions League games. They have lost on four of those occasions.