Spanish giants Barcelona are all set to host Celtic in the two clubs' Champions League Group H finale on Wednesday evening at Camp Nou.
Unsurprisingly, Gerardo Martino's squad will take to the pitch as heavy favourites to pick up their fourth victory in six Champions League matches this season, even without superstar Lionel Messi, who is out recovering from a hamstring injury.
But Barca will begin Matchday 6 only two points ahead of second place AC Milan and will therefore need to come away with a positive result in order to clinch the top spot in Group H regardless of what unfolds at the San Siro.
However, Celtic have been eliminated after dropping four of their five group games. The Hoops can't even recover to earn a UEFA Europa League berth by finishing third.
Meanwhile, AC Milan and Ajax Amsterdam will square off in the other Group H finale on Wednesday in a game that could determine whether Barca finish No. 1 or No. 2 in the group in the unlikely event they lose to Celtic.
Here we'll get you set with everything you need to know ahead of Wednesday's kick-off.
Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Start Time: 2:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. GMT
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Watch: Fox Sports (U.S.), Sky Sports (U.K.)
Barcelona: 83.1 percent
Celtic: 3.7 percent
Draw: 13.2 percent
*Odds according to Bloomberg Sports.
Top Storyline: Barcelona Playing to Secure Top Spot in Group H
|Champions League Group H|
Win, lose or draw, Barcelona are headed to the Champions League knockout stage. But with AC Milan just two points back, Barca must at least come away with a draw in order to guarantee they finish atop the group.
That shouldn't be asking too much of the reigning Spanish champions seeing as Celtic have already been eliminated from contention.
Still, unless AC Milan beats Ajax in Italy on Wednesday, it won't matter how Barca fare in their final match against Celtic. It goes without saying that Martino and company have significant room for error in this match.
As a result, don't be surprised to see some younger faces out there for the home team.
Short-handed Barca were able to dominate possession (82-18 percent) and beat Celtic 1-0 in Scotland in the two clubs' first meeting, so there's no reason to believe they won't turn in a similar performance the second time around.
Even without Messi, Barca boast far too much firepower to be suppressed at home.
Look for the European power to control the field and dictate the tempo from the outset against Celtic on Wednesday, creating plenty of scoring chances and cashing in on more than enough to win.
Barcelona 3, Celtic 0
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