After a difficult summer during which president Joan Laporta admitted the club were over €1bn in debt and could therefore not afford to keepLionel Messi upon the expiration of his contract, the problems off of the pitch look to have extended onto it too.
Currently sitting seventh in the La Liga table and way off the pace in their Champions League group, facing a Madrid side who have won their last three league fixtures looks a daunting prospect. Indeed, given the hyperbole that surrounds one of the most iconic games in world football, a loss could lead to more questions about Koemans’s position in charge.
Speaking ahead of the game, however, the former Everton and Southampton manager talked of the collective excitement his young team share ahead of Sunday’s meeting, which kicks off at 15:15pm BST.
“We are very excited and looking forward to Sunday. I told the players that they need to enjoy the environment that we will have in Camp Nou,” he said.
“It’s not an additional pressure. We have to go out there and be fearless.
“There is no fear from our side. I think we both have a good mix of youth and experience. We are better in ball possession and they are very dangerous counter attacking.
“We have to be aware of their speed when we lose possession and we need to be effective when we have the chance to score. In a game like this, we can’t afford to miss opportunities.”
Reporting by Fernando Kallas – Reuters