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Barcelona Gears Up for Champions League Opener After Dominant Victory

After a stunning 5-0 triumph over Real Betis, Barcelona is poised to face Royal Antwerp in their UEFA Champions League Group H opener.

The Blaugrana’s confidence is soaring after their exceptional performance, leaving fans and pundits eager to witness their European campaign.

Manager Xavi Hernandez faces a pivotal decision regarding the starting lineup that secured the emphatic win over Real Betis. With a packed schedule ahead, some rotation is likely, despite the temptation to stick with the same squad.

A notable return to the starting lineup is anticipated with the inclusion of midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. The 32-year-old German, a summer transfer window acquisition, has quickly become a linchpin in Xavi’s tactical approach.

Gundogan’s absence in the Real Betis match was a precautionary measure, following a minor knock during the international break. Now fully fit, he is poised to make a significant impact against Royal Antwerp.

The possible inclusion of Gundogan may see Oriol Romeu making way, should Xavi opt for an attack-oriented formation. Alternatively, adjustments in the forward line may be made to accommodate Gundogan’s return.

Defense might witness a shift as well, with Inigo Martinez potentially replacing Andreas Christensen, adding a fresh dimension to Barcelona’s backline.

In the attacking department, fierce competition for starting spots ensues, with Raphinha and Lamine Yamal eager to leave their mark. Managing these options becomes a pleasant challenge for Xavi, especially with Torres, Lewandowski, and Felix in top form.

As Barcelona gears up to face Royal Antwerp in their Champions League opener, Xavi’s selections will be under intense scrutiny. Their performance will not only influence their group stage journey but also broadcast a resounding message to European rivals that Barcelona is a formidable force once more.

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