Barcelona vs Slavia PragueUEFA Champions League, KO: 17:55 Nov 5, 2019, Nou Camp
BARCELONA'S revival came shuddering to a halt at the weekend as they crashed to a shock defeat against Levante but they should return to winning ways when Slavia Prague come calling.
It looked like Barca would make it eight victories on the spin when Lionel Messi fired them ahead in Valencia on Saturday, only for Levante to net three times in seven second-half minutes to stun the Catalans.
The defeat wasn't enough to knock them off the La Liga summit, with Real and Atletico Madrid both held to draws, but just three points now separates the top seven in a thrilling Spanish title race.
Group F of the Champions League isn't quite as tight, with Barcelona holding a three-point lead over Inter and Dortmund as Slavia sit six adrift at the bottom.
A shock win for the Czech side at the Nou Camp would put the cat back among the pigeons but I can't see it happening after Slavia lost 2-1 at home to Ernesto Valverde's side on Matchday Three.
I tipped Barca to win with both teams to score that night and just missed out on my other two bets coming up as Luis Suarez shot wide when one-on-one with the keeper in the second half.
The Uruguayan has been Barcelona's main man in the Champions League this season but won't play against Slavia here after picking up an injury against Levante that will sideline him for three weeks.
However, I'm tempted to back a Barcelona victory with both teams to score again as Valverde's men have kept just one clean sheet at home all season.
Slavia also netted on their last Champions League away day at the San Siro against Inter and will need to go for it at the Nou Camp if they are to have any hope of reaching the last 16.#
Slavia netted four at the weekend, with Tomas Soucek grabbing a double in the 4-0 win over Banik Ostrava. The midfielder always catches my eye and made me a few quid at 10/1 when he netted against Chelsea in the Europa League last season.
Soucek is a bit shorter at 17/2 for a goal in this one at Bet365 but is still a good option for those who like to go for longer-odds punts.
Barca players are far more likely to find the net but both Messi (1/2 with most firms) and Antoine Griezmann (10/11, Bet365) are odds-on so they don't offer a great deal of value.
Instead, I'll be backing whoever is asked to step into Suarez's shoes as the third man up front. It looks like a toss-up between wonderkid Ansu Fati and enfant terrible Ousmane Dembele for a starting jersey.
Fati came off the bench against Levante while Dembele wasn't even in the squad despite being available again after suspension. But the French maverick could come back in to add a bit of freshness for the Slavia match and he's a tempting 33/20 with Unibet for anytime scorer. I'll be on that but will switch to Fati, at 13/10 with Paddy Power, if the teenager gets the nod instead.
Valverde's side have smashed home 19 goals in just six games at the Nou Camp this season so there should be plenty of thrills again when Slavia come calling. Over 3.5 Barcelona goals pays 41/20 at 888Sport and that looks a bit overpriced, even though the Catalans haven't netted more than twice in a Champions League game so far this term.
This UEFA Champions League match between Barcelona and Slavia Prague will be played on Nov 5, 2019 and kick off at 17:55