It’s not an exaggeration to say that Barcelona’s season rests on their Champions League excursion to Bavaria in midweek.
The Catalans travel to Bayern Munich for the final group game of this season’s competition, knowing that a win will guarantee their progression into the knockout stages.
If they draw or lose and Benfica emerge victorious in the other match against Dynamo Kyiv, then the Blaugranes will have to be content with the Europa League for the rest of the campaign.
Xavi Hernandez is likely to go all out for the three points, and one player in particular needs to step up.
Ousmane Dembele has been a shining light for Barca in the last couple of games, even if he hasn’t found the target.
His pace scares the life out of defenders, and against Bayern, in a stadium that will be without fans, he needs to draw on the reserves and bring his best.
The one issue is that the Frenchman hasn’t played a full 90 minutes since the European Championship and it seems that whenever he truly goes for it over a sustained period, he picks up muscle concerns.
Can Xavi even afford to be without him again after this game if his injury curse comes back to haunt him?
It’s a delicate balancing act for the former midfielder, and one that he needs to get spot on if he wants to pull off a miracle in Germany.