Barça eye 2.8M-euro consolation bonus in Champions League farewell
Barcelona, Spain, Oct 31 (EFE).- With their elimination from the Champions League already sealed, FC Barcelona have little to play for in their final group stage match against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday, that is aside from an extra 2.8 million euros should they win.
But to be in for a shot of the Uefa bonus money, the Catalan side will need to beat the Czech club without their key striker Robert Lewandowski, who is being rested due to back pain.
Xavi Hernández’s side, braced for another stint in the Europa League, head to the Doosan Arena in Plzen with the intention of securing some cash for the club’s battered coffers, as well as to restore some confidence after an agonized 0-1 win over Valencia in the weekend’s LaLiga action.
The Uefa Champions League group stage prize pots pay out 2.8 million euros for each victory and 930,000 for a draw. So far, Barça have only claimed victory against Viktoria Plzen at home and managed a draw against Inter, also at the Spotify Camp Nou.
While a significant chunk of money is on the line, Xavi could still decide to field a less experienced team in the Czech Republic. He will have one eye on the Spanish league, where second-place Barça have upcoming games against Almería and Osasuna ahead of the break for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Lewandowski, who scored an injury-time goal to beat Valencia on Saturday, is not the only missing one out, with Eric Garcia and Jules Koundé also picking up knocks in that match.
Ronaldo Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Sergi Roberto and Memphis Depay are also unavailable, as is Sergio Busquets due to an accumulation of cards.
The only stalwart central defender available to Xavi, then, is Gerard Piqué.
To shore up the squad ahead of their final Champions League match this season, Xavi called up a number of academy players.
For Viktoria Plzen, who have failed to secure a single point in the Champions League campaign this year, the game against Barça on Tuesday night will be another opportunity to challenge one of Europe’s heavyweights.
The team are currently top of the Czech league, ahead of Slavia Praha.EFE