UEFA Champions League: FC Copenhagen vs Barcelona, aka “Win and we’re in”

These are some serious, serious faces rolling off the plane into Copenhagen. Why? Because they know that this is a match that can make life a lot easier for our short-handed club. As with last season, we have one of the, if not the smallest roster of any major European club that is competing on three fronts. Win today, and it really doesn’t matter much what happens with the rest of the matches in the group. Here are the points standings right now:

FCB: 7
FCK (yes, that’s just fun to type): 6
RUB: 2
PAN: 1

So. We still have to face Rubin Kazan and Panathinaikos, home and away, with 6 more points at stake after today’s match. Yes, we could still, by some thunderbolt, get messed up if we win today then lose the next two. But with 10 points, and the second-placed team 4 points behind us, it would be almost mathematically impossible, and winning today means that the worst we can do is second place in the group.

This means that Guardiola will want to take care of business, as I am in this shortie preview, since this seems to be a one-man operation these days, and I have a life, training and other stuff clamoring for what’s left of my short attention span. And I’m not the only one thinking of just getting it done:

Xavi: “That would mean we could rest some players, but it won’t be easy to beat Copenhagen.”

Messi: “It’d be good to get a win so that we can practically forget about the Champions League for a while.”

I don’t have to tell anyone that we are rolling into Copenhagen with our chests puffed out, after a 5-0 hammering of Sevilla on Saturday. I also don’t have to tell anyone that Copenhagen are a proud side, with a very strong home record to match our exceptionally good away record.

We’re rolling in with a 19-man squad, the full list of the 17 first-teamers, plus Thiago, and keeper Mino, who replaces Pinto (serving the two-match ban for naughty whistling). So: Valdes, Mino, Alves, Here Adriano, Abidal, Pique, Puyol, Maxwell, Mascherano, Busquets, Keita, Xavi, Iniesta, Krkic, Villa, Messi, Pedro, Milito, Thiago.

Xavi reports that he is feeling great after the weekend match, in which he could have played the full 90, so expect him to start this important match today. Everyone else is also healthy, so I fully expect Guardiola to roll out with a lineup that wants to score goals, but is cognizant of not conceding. Here’s my starting XI:

Valdes, Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal, Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro!, Messi, Villa

The idea will be put this one to bed early, then start rolling in key subs to rest folks for the weekend matches.

Not that I expect Copenhagen to cooperate with that program.

FC Copenhagen leads the Danish Liga by 14 points, having won 12 of its first 14 matches, with two draws. Essentially, they’re the Danish version of us, right? They also know that a good showing puts then in the driver’s seat as regards qualification. Now. Unlike Isaiah, I don’t care who they’re starting, or what their roster is. Because we’re going to win this one. Why? Because we’re the best club in the world. Duh. I say a 2-1 final, with goals from Messi and Villa, who will continue to round into the form that we’ve all been expecting.

Match time is 3:45EST, so set those DVRs. With all of the different cable and satellite systems out there, I won’t presume to tell anyone where it’s showing in their world. But Fox Soccer has the franchise, so that gives you North American and Canadian folks a starting point.

Finally, anybody who wants to run the LiveBlog should let me know here, or shoot me a note via kevvwill@gmail.com, and I’ll get you set up. I’ll be busy making the world safe for journalism, so I can’t do it. If no LiveBlog, I will set up a match comments post for everyone to go hog wild.

Yes, this is the shortest match preview in the history of this blog. So shut up. This cool picture of Puyol from training will make up for it.

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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.

75 Comments

  1. Diego S.
    November 2, 2010

    I remember in 08/09 when we lost to Shakhtar at the Camp Nou, It was all good and all the substitutes had fun, Even Sylvinho and Busquets scored !!

    • Kxevin
      November 2, 2010

      Yep. I was at that match. Hell of a golazo by Papa Sylvinho. I think that we want to win the group, for sure. But if we beat Copenhagen, two draws will suffice.

  2. extreme barca fan
    November 2, 2010

    good review, i expect the same line up but with busi instead of smach
    i.e same weekend lineup that mauled sevilla.
    my prediction 3 : 1 for us, because i think copenhagen will open up the spaces as they will go to the attack
    visca el barca

  3. Kxevin
    November 2, 2010

    A few of the players (Puyol, Pique, Krkic) received a visit from woozy-making Danish tennis star and current No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki.

    • orangerie
      November 2, 2010

      her brother patrick is a football player (midfielder for danish club bronshoj bk), and is woozy-inducing as well πŸ™‚

      • Kxevin
        November 2, 2010

        Funny how that kinda stuff runs in a family, doesn’t it? Mind you, Wozniacki is no Samantha Stosur, but that’s just the athlete in me reacting to the gun show that she puts on.

        • Luke
          November 2, 2010

          I’m sure Pique received something… hello hello.

  4. November 2, 2010

    Ill be looking for Bojan to start this match. For all logical reasoning, Pep wouldn’t play the kid in this circumstance, but it’s that exact reason that makes me think Crickets will get the nod. It’d be a huge confidence boost and a chance to shine. If he were to score in this match, I can only imagine the pure jubilation on his face. I don’t think Pep sits Villa or Leo due to our our need to win, but I think The Kid gets the start with Pedro waiting in the wing like a greyhound waiting to jump the gates.

    • Kxevin
      November 2, 2010

      I don’t think so, JMo, though I agree with all of the psychological issues. I just think that there is too much riding on this match to trust a player who looked terrible against a Segunda B side. He’s almost certainly the first sub, barring any injuries or anything, but Guardiola’s buttressing of his confidence only goes so far.

      • November 2, 2010

        I see what you’re saying with the weight of the match. However, we’ve seen him put up strangerthiga in big games, like Alves or Maxwell as a midfielder. Part of the reason I love Pep is his unpredictability so I’m excited to see what steps out onto the pitch.

        Only downside is I’m covering the elections all day and won’t be able to see it!

        Stupid democracy…. πŸ™‚

  5. blitzen
    November 2, 2010

    “that gives you North American and Canadian folks a starting point.”

    Canada isn’t part of North America anymore? πŸ™‚

    I won’t be able to watch this match live, per usual for weekday matches, but I’ll be following the commentary. I think it will be a difficult game and our defense will have to be on their toes, especially Pique, who has been a little below his best lately. I just hope we put this one to bed early so that we can sub Xavi out if necessary. Look for Keita and Bojan to come on in the second half.

    • Kxevin
      November 2, 2010

      Yes, but I always like to make the distinction. Not sure why.

  6. GREECE BARCA
    November 2, 2010

    well i believe it.s time for pedro to score.my prediction 0-2.pedro,messi.

  7. Louis
    November 2, 2010

    Fox Sports Espanol (or Espana, as I like to think it’s called) in the US.

  8. Kxevin
    November 2, 2010

    Even better is you all will get to call someone different a jackass, since when one person does the preview (even a half-assed one such as this), one of the others does the review. So I think you’ll be getting an Isaiah review, so that I can get my beauty sleep. Yay, team! (In a bit of nostalgia, my fingers automatically type Yaya still, even when I mean to type Yay.)

  9. GREECE BARCA
    November 2, 2010

    i believe in the future xavi will be our coach.when i read interviews of him i realize that except a genius in the field is a fantastic person.i hope he also want to follow the coaching career.

    • Helge
      November 2, 2010

      Dude… why don’t you give a damn about capital letters, not to mention putting a blank after a full stop?
      Sorry, but somehow this has been going on my nerves for quite a time πŸ™‚

      • Jose
        November 2, 2010

        lol, now watch him reply at the bottom of the thread.

  10. Roz
    November 2, 2010

    Slight change of subject, Maxwell talking english. I think :P.
    *://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDjnVK3Edww&feature=related

  11. Helge
    November 2, 2010

    Maybe the players were simply in a bad mood afteer getting off the plane because they had to fly with a Sporting Braga plane^^

    btw, I just got to surf on PiquΓ©’s facebook page (via Pep’s tweet) and it’s definitely worth a visit! Anybody knows other official facebook pages of Barcelon players that are frequently updated?

    • Jeff
      November 2, 2010

      Iniesta has one that is frequently updated

      • blitzen
        November 2, 2010

        Not that frequently, but he almost always updates it after games.

        Cesc Fabregas has one too, and posts in English, Catalan and Castillian like Pique does.

  12. GREECE BARCA
    November 2, 2010

    helge i don.t use capital letters.i use mobile phone many times cause i am working and i don.t see in my comments capital.but i am sorry if something happened.

    • ooga aga
      November 2, 2010

      He wants you to capitalize the first letter in your sentence and put a space after a period. Some other punctuational improvements would also help. It makes things much easier to read. Especially the space after the period. I personally gave up on reading your posts, maybe Helge will do the same.

      • ooga aga
        November 2, 2010

        greecebarca, i actually do read your posts. i skim them. just like i skim everything else, there’s no way i can read every word on this blog. i am just saying that people reading your posts would find them easier to digest if you punctuated and put some spaces in there. dont let the Sailor guy make you think that we are all a bunch of haters.

    • Helge
      November 2, 2010

      Well, not using capital letters if you don’t see them on your mobile at all is maybe comprehensible. But obviously, you are capable of putting a blank between two words, so why not give it a try and put a blank/space after a full stop/period? Thanks.

    • Eklavya
      November 2, 2010

      Yeah please write with ponctuantion. I don’t even bother to read your comments anymore since I can barely read it and they don’t contain anything great really and I dont think Im the only one.

      So please make an effort, thanks! πŸ™‚

    • Vicsoc8
      November 2, 2010

      I don’t consider it arrogance to ask that people communicate in an intelligible way. No offense intended to anyone, but it is just hard to read and understand posts that are so lax in following the conventions of written English. I know it can be difficult if English is a second language, but that is why using the conventions is so important – they can help to clarify things that would otherwise be confused.

    • Eklavya
      November 2, 2010

      Well, I come to this blog as a hobby. Once it goes beyond that, I switch off. Sorry if I offended you but you are free to do as you want…as I am. If I were bossing him, I would have said it months ago, instead I’m giving advice (with smilies).

      Another advice: if you don’t like this blog then please don’t come back! Thanks! πŸ™‚

    • Kxevin
      November 2, 2010

      Sailor, I don’t know what to say except I can’t believe that you still bother wasting your time and effort with something that is so obviously beneath you.

      If I went jogging through a field, and every time I jogged there I stepped in a pile of shit, I would change my jogging route, and I don’t mean tomorrow. So if this is the “worst blog ever,” there is a simple solution: don’t visit. We’d hate to cause you any more pain.

      You make so many errors:

      1. You presume that the request of ONE member is blog policy.
      2. You ignore all of the intelligent, thoughtful discourse that goes on here.
      3. You pop in and denigrate everybody in this space with your vile comments, even those who have said absolutely nothing about the quality or content of Greece Barca’s posts.
      4. You assume that just because somebody says something that is spectacularly, preternaturally stupid, that I am going to delete it because I am “not man enough to take some criticism.”

      I’d rather be an asshole than a moron. Because here’s the thing. Nobody expects anyone to be an idiot, until they open their mouths and remove all doubt.

      We don’t mind if anyone visits this space. We’ve had trollers, haters, bile spewers, you name it. And yes, stupider, more hateful things have been said than your silliness. But if you just bothered to spend a shard of time reading comment threads and posts ….

      Oh, never mind.

      • Clue(less)
        November 2, 2010

        Ha I love it…you got the CHI written all over you!!!!!!! Sweet.

    • Kari
      November 2, 2010

      Despite this being “the worst blog ever”, you seem to really like it since you’re here everyday–how else would you know GREECE BARCA posts every day?

      Honestly, I just don’t get the point of this post. You seems to have a completely different agenda than criticizing. You take a misgiving you have from one post and turn it into an attack on the entire blog.

      The childish one here is you. One person doesn’t mean the entire blog. No one “gives up” reading GREECE BARCA’s posts (except maybe ooga oga) and you know that by the way Helge and co. asked him to make them easier to read. Key words being asked and easier. This implies that they do in fact read the posts, hence the easier, and asked him instead of demanding or telling him, implying politeness and prior knowledge that English is not his first language are present.

      Asking something to be made easier to read is so that there is no confusion. The desire to read something is there, just making it clearer is the request and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

      What wrong is taking a request from one person to another and making it into a personal attack on everyone who writes or reads here.

    • Vj
      November 2, 2010

      Wow. you guys are just as I keep saying you are.

      “major pricks.”

      “you’re not man enough”

      “you guys are such assholes.”

      and the pièce de résistance,

      Grow up.

      Us? Really? Trying to improve the readability of a comment is called bossing around? Did anyone respond to him/her with the language you used? Hypocrisy much?

      If you hate the blog so much, I must wonder why you keep coming back.

  13. blitzen
    November 2, 2010

    Well, I know we are going to win, now! I just got my red pre-game top delivered, and I love it! A good omen! πŸ˜€

    • Kxevin
      November 2, 2010

      Unfortunately, the yellow ones are now delayed until December. Booo! And yes, the jacket is badass, though my bicycle racer’s protuberance means that I had to return mine for a larger size.

  14. Luke
    November 2, 2010

    Friends, we better hope we make this out alive because Copenhagen’s manager, Solbakken, was fucking dead for 12 minutes after suffering a heart attack and being revived. That means he’s a zombie, RUUUUUN!

    • Vicsoc8
      November 2, 2010

      Would like to know how the 12 minutes was calculated, since you start getting irreparable brain damage after 6 minutes without getting oxygen to the brain.

      • Eklavya
        November 2, 2010

        I was thinking along those lines as well…

        Footy + Science = Fail\ Zombie ?

      • blitzen
        November 2, 2010

        It’s possible that they mean that his heart stopped and he received CPR for 12 minutes before being revived. If the blood is still circulating from manual compressions, the brain can stay alive.

        • Vicsoc8
          November 2, 2010

          That’s definitely a possibility, and wouldn’t even be that surprising.

          • Luke
            November 2, 2010

            He was clinically dead for 12 minutes, meaning his heart stopped functioning. People have gone on living after being clinically dead for more than 20 minutes, it’s just REALLY rare. Most people suffer horrible brain damage.

  15. Vicsoc8
    November 2, 2010

    I can run the liveblog. I’ll send you an email in a half hour or so Kxevin.

      • Eklavya
        November 2, 2010

        Its “Visca Vicsoc!” πŸ˜€

        • Kxevin
          November 2, 2010

          Yes! Thanks, Vicsoc. Much appreciated.

  16. Eklavya
    November 2, 2010

    Great news! I’m getting the match on TV! πŸ˜€ *Crowd cheers* (Barca matches on TV where are pretty rare).
    Bad news: I won’t be able to participate in the LiveBlog πŸ™ *Crowd boos*

    So sorry to all the people I’ve let down πŸ˜€ you’ll see me next time!

    • Kari
      November 2, 2010

      Oh, the horror~! Now who will type “PEANUTS!!” during moments of tension~?! NOOOOOOOO~!

      Sigh.

      It’s okay, I forgive you. I have it on TV as well πŸ˜€

      • Eklavya
        November 2, 2010

        But will you LiveBlog while watching it on TV? That is the question.

        • Kari
          November 2, 2010

          That really is the question. Knowing me, I’ll fail at both if I do it.

          And yet, like Messi to Legoland, I just keep coming back.

          …And unexpected guests come over and threaten my Barca-viewing-on-TV-FINALLY experience. Sh*t.

          • Eklavya
            November 2, 2010

            Me too! My sister took over the TV! Noooooooo! πŸ™

    • Diego S.
      November 2, 2010

      What about not watching the match ? You saw how we played against Sevilla when you weren’t watching. Take one for the team πŸ˜€

  17. Kxevin
    November 2, 2010

    For the record:

    This is an English-speaking Barcelona blog. Some visitors to this space have a greater facility of the language and its nuances than others. I don’t mind the composition of Greece Barca’s posts, nor does that composition detract from their readability for me.

    Yes, I’ve often said that I consider many of his comments a bit rich on the hyperbole, but that’s another issue.

    If he’s contributing on a mobile device, speaking as one who does, it’s a pain in the butt, depending on which device. Anybody who wants to contribute here is welcome, whatever form it takes. You can choose to read their posts or not, but that’s a personal decision.

    I’m a journalist. I work with words and their broader context of language, syntax, grammar and meaning on a daily basis. I nitpick the work of my writers, but NOT the work of people who come to this blog. Nobody is perfect, and that includes me. If we’re going to continue to be a big, happy family here, that’s something to keep in mind.

    Thanks.

    • Blow-Grenade
      November 2, 2010

      Love your take on this issue – BG.

    • Eklavya
      November 2, 2010

      I think my English has become better after reading this blog.
      I don’t have anything personal with Greece Barca, its just that after a while it gets annoying.
      And for the record, I agree that it’s a pain in the butt if you’re writing through a mobile. πŸ™‚

  18. justsayin'
    November 2, 2010

    Lighten up guys, if you want people to participate you’re going to have to deal with they way people write. There aren’t many Barca forums and I find this one to be informative with interesting varied views, so let’s be a little more tolerant.
    More on point, really looking forward to seeing Messi score his 100th goal with Pep as well as becoming FCB’s leading goal scorer in international games this afternoon.

  19. ooga aga
    November 2, 2010

    sorry folks i was being extreme by saying i “gave up” reading greecebarcas posts, cos i havent, its more like i am mildly dissuaded from reading them…i used strong language as a way to suggest to greecebarca that his posts would find a larger quantity of more willing readers if he took a couple of steps in the way of punctuation. but yeah i think the biggest dose of nastiness, once again, is coming from the Sailor.

    • Eklavya
      November 2, 2010

      I think the “gave up” comment was towards me. And my opinion is the same as yours.

    • Kari
      November 2, 2010

      BFB Troller Fail #198304:

      Troller brings clarification on posts from other much more important commenters.

  20. poipoi
    November 2, 2010

    newspapers say keita will be in the starting 11 πŸ™

  21. ooga aga
    November 2, 2010

    good time for a new thread kxevin? i noticed kxevin proposed the lineup from saturday with only a swap of busi for masch. i think we will see more changes to saturday’s side. i think xavi will sit at the outset.

  22. Eklavya
    November 2, 2010

    official lineup

    VV
    Aves Pique Puyol Abidal
    Keita Busi Xavi
    Villa Messi Iniesta

  23. Eklavya
    November 2, 2010

    Mino is on the bench, meaning there’s no thiago.

  24. ooga aga
    November 2, 2010

    so….the basic change from the sevilla match is that keita comes in, pedro goes out, and iniesta pushes up to the front line. other than that it is the same.

    • Eklavya
      November 2, 2010

      I preferred the Sevilla lineup though. πŸ™

  25. November 2, 2010

    OFFICIAL LINE-UP

    VALDES

    ALVES PUYOL PIQUE ABIDAL

    ——–BUSQUESTS

    ——— XAVI ———- KEITA

    – MESSI ——————- INEISTA

    ————— VILLA

  26. ooga aga
    November 2, 2010

    mino, adriano, masch, milito, maxwell, bojan, pedro on the bench.

  27. Vj
    November 2, 2010

    The other match is heading for a draw.. We go through if we win..

  28. yoyyoma
    November 2, 2010

    So here’s a thing: there is no sMasche in the starting lineup, and I cant’t understand this. Sometimes Pep is unintelligible. I know that I’m boring with Mascherano but form me he is one of the best player in this team, and he cost us 20 mln so it would be nice if Pep could give him more time on the pitch. That’s my little protesta πŸ™‚

    • Louis
      November 2, 2010

      Agreed. He better be starting this Sunday.

      And how long will he be content being a team/bench player about all this when he and everyone else knows that his form has increased exponentially since his first couple appearances with us.

  29. Kari
    November 2, 2010

    So updated table looks like so:

    FCB: 7
    FCK (hehehe): 6
    RUB: 3
    PAN: 2

    We go through when if we win.

  30. Kxevin
    November 2, 2010

    LiveBlog time! VicSoc at the ready! Go!

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