HJK Helsinki vs. Barcelona: Date, Time, Live Stream, Prediction and Preview

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HJK Helsinki vs. Barcelona: Date, Time, Live Stream, Prediction and Preview
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

After winning no trophies in the 2013-14 season, and the World Cup heartbreak suffered by Spain, Lionel Messi and Neymar, Barcelona look towards the future as they continue their pre-season activities.

On Saturday, the Catalan giants travel to Scandinavia to play HJK Helsinki in a warm-up for the campaign ahead.

Here is how you can catch this friendly:

 

When: Saturday, August 9, at 3 p.m. BST (10 a.m. ET)

Where: Sonera Stadium, Helsinki, Finland.

Live StreambeIN Sports CONNECT (US and Canada only)

 

Barcelona Prepare in England

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

New coach Luis Enrique brought his revamped Barcelona squad to England to train for the campaign ahead, desperate to add silverware during his first season in charge.

The Catalan giants based themselves at St George's Park—the national training centre of English football—and put their squad through tough double sessions before their trip to Finland, per Alex Sharp of Mail Online.

Enrique took a 26-man squad with him to train with the notable absentees of Messi and Neymar. The Argentina captain had been granted extra leave, whilst the Brazilian superstar is still recovering from injury, although both are now back among the squad.

Barcelona were left in the shade last season as both clubs from the Spanish capital took the major honours.

Atletico Madrid drove their way to a shock victory in La Liga, compounded by Real Madrid and their La Decima achievement in the Champions League.

It was the first time in six years that Barca had failed to win a trophy, per Sharp, and prompted the club to break the bank to sign Liverpool's controversial striker, Luis Suarez.

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Barca have made a number of squad signings for the coming season—including Claudio Bravo, Jeremy Mathieu and Ivan Rakitic—but this has been to pad out their numbers and keep the team competitive.

Suarez will enter the frame once his suspension is complete, but it may be some time before we see the Uruguayan team up with both Messi and Neymar, all at the same time. Barca cannot afford to start slowly during this campaign and must make a statement of intent early.

However, they may find this difficult to do.

Real Madrid have once again strengthened with the Galactico signing of James Rodriguez, and with Gareth Bale now settled and firing, the Camp Nou club will do well to keep up with them during the first part of the season.

 

Prediction and Preview

Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Games such as these are played for fitness, but Barcelona will be looking for a win to start a wave of momentum.

Helsinki are not in the same class bracket as any of the Spanish team's squad, but their superior fitness levels will challenge their illustrious opponents.

Barca have notable absentees and this will not be a run-of-the-mill game for them. But with quality like Rakitic pulling the strings, they still may run away with the result here.

Bravo should also feature in goal, in what is the advent of a new dawn for the Barcelona defence. The goalkeeper made his debut in the team's 1-0 defeat to Napoli recently, with his error on 80 minutes gifting the Italians the win, per BBC Sport.

Can HJK Helsinki beat Barcelona?

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It will be a tough test for Enrique this year as he looks to match the power of the Madrid teams. Suarez will certainly give the club a new dimension in attack, but they must cope without him in the meantime. Once they have him in tandem with their other stars, their season will truly begin.

There is no reason why Barca will not win trophies this year, and even after a disappointing showing in 2013-14 and a strange summer for some of their players, they can bounce back and achieve once more.

Prediction: Barcelona win 4-1

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