Barcelona v PSV
UEFA Champions League Group Stage. Kick-Off 5.55pm, Tuesday 18th September. Live on BT Sport 1.
IT'S been three years since Barcelona last held the Champions League trophy aloft and for most clubs that ordinarily wouldn't be too much of a problem, but when your greatest rivals have been crowned Champions of Europe in each of the three intervening seasons then you start to appreciate just how important it is for Barca to make a dent in this year's competition.
Domestically, Ernesto Valverde's men have made a flawless start to the season but they'll be looking to improve upon recent European campaigns that have seen them bow out of the competition in the quarter-finals on each occasion since their 2015 success.
They're seldom troubled in the group stages though and boast a record 19 top-of-the-group finishes. You have to go back to 2009 for their last home defeat in the group stages. The victors that night were Rubin Kazan, who stunned the Nou Camp with a 2-1 win. It's unlikely the Russians' claim to fame will be threaten by PSV on Tuesday.
The Dutch champions have also made an unbeaten start to their Eredivisie campaign and sit top of the table with five wins from five but if their last Champions League appearance is anything to go by they'll probably find the step up in class a bit too hot to handle. Two seasons ago they finished bottom of Group D, losing twice to each of Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, and scraping two points from their clashes with FC Rostov.
In the last five Champions League seasons Barca have average over 3.5 goals per home match. But backing them to score Over 2.5 won't make you rich at 4/9.
However, let's take a look at PSV's chances of finding the net at the Nou Camp. They've been banging them in back home, scoring 21 in their opening five league games. They also scored six over two legs against BATE Borisov to qualify for the group stages. Barca have conceded three in their last two matches so there might just be some value in backing the Dutch side to score alongside Barcelona. BTTS is 1/1 at Bet365.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are neck-and-neck on 60 Champions League goals apiece. The Argentinian magician loves this competition and backing him to opening the scoring at 15/8 looks better value than 11/10 on him scoring twice in the match.