Manchester City travel to Barcelona knowing nothing but a dominant win will ensure their passage to the Champions League's quarterfinal stage. The Premier League side face a 2-0 deficit after the opening tie and must rack up the goals to stand a chance of advancing.
Here's everything you need to know about the crucial Camp Nou fixture.
When: Wednesday, March 12, at 7:45 p.m. GMT/3:45 p.m. ET
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Both teams head into this fixture in similar situations. Barcelona need to quickly recover from the embarrassing 1-0 La Liga loss to relegation candidates Valladolid, who were excellent value for their win at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla.
City suffered an even more surprising defeat with the 2-1 FA Cup loss to Championship side Wigan Athletic, reliving the heartache of last year's final loss to a hard-working and well-drilled Latics side. To make this failure even more difficult to take, it was at the Etihad, a feat screwed home by Uber Football Fact:
These results ensure both teams could be cautious at the Camp Nou, but Gerardo Martino and Manuel Pellegrini must send their players out with the intention of attacking. Barca's two-goal lead from the first leg ensures the first strike will be majorly important in Catalonia, effectively killing the contest or giving City something to fight for.
Like Arsenal against Bayern Munich, the English side must score at least two if they are to advance. Pellegrini's side are best-equipped to dominate La Blaugrana's defence in aerial situations and must make the most of set pieces.
During the opening leg, City wasted far too many crossing opportunities by playing the ball short from wide free-kicks, despite Alvaro Negredo outperforming Gerard Pique in the air.
La Blaugrana have been notoriously poor when defending high balls this season, summed up by the goal they conceded against Almeria. Perhaps Pellegrini will spot this and partner Negredo with Edin Dzeko, especially considering Sergio Aguero appeared rusty during the loss to Wigan.
For Barca, possession will be key. The Spanish side eventually got hold of the ball at the Etihad and reduced City to springing counter-attacks. This kind of control halts the momentum of Yaya Toure and forces Negredo to drop away from the area in order to receive passes, providing the defence with less problems in the air.
The easy bet is to go with Barcelona on this one, and while the Spanish giants should be expected to get through, expect City to make life extremely difficult.
Pellegrini's team are a relentless attacking force even when they don't need to keep hunting goals. They have nothing to lose at the Camp Nou and must go full throttle if they are to progress. It is profitable for City to hustle Barca's midfield out of possession right from the off, and they must ensure energy is matched with pacey, fully committed attacks.
City are more than capable of scoring two goals, but like their opponents, are also prone to defensive frailties. This encounter is likely to be settled on a miscue at the back, and with City piling on the pressure, Barca's ability to hit on the break will come to the fore.
Prediction: Barcelona 2-2 Manchester City (Barca win 4-2 on aggregate)
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