Match Preview: Barcelona vs Royal Antwerp, Team News, Predicted Lineups & TV Coverage Champions League

Barcelona come into the Champions League after a breathtaking showing and a truly impressive victory against a good Betis team, with a brilliant team display and exceptional individual performances all across the lineup. It was the best version of Xavi Hernández’s vision for this team, and it sets the standards for what they can be this season.

Because of just how dominant they looked at the weekend, it is easy to look at Barça going up against a team making their first-ever group stage appearance in the Champions League at home and expecting another domination. But this is 2023, and football has changed.

Just because you don’t know a team well, it doesn’t mean they are weak and don’t have a chance. Antwerp won the Belgian league last season and went through a gauntlet to get to the group stage, and a quick scan of the squad shows a number of high-level veterans who have played significant roles in the biggest leagues in Europe and play alongside some very exciting prospects.

They are coached by a familiar face in former Barça midfielder Mark van Bommel, and the Dutchman is saying his team won’t be afraid to test themselves against the mighty Blaugrana and will try to play their aggressive, physical, attacking style at Montjuïc.

Barça are obvious favorites, even if Xavi Hernández rotates his side and makes some changes to the team that beat Betis, as the local press expects. Even with a weaker team the Blaugrana will have more than enough to get the win, but it might not be as easy as many think.

Antwerp deserve respect, not only from us as fans, but more importantly from Xavi and the Barça players. If the Catalans don’t take this for granted and play with the same urgency as they did at the weekend, they should make this easy. If they don’t, it could be a frustrating night.

It’s time to hear that beautiful anthem again, and it’s time to start an European journey that hopefully doesn’t end in embarrassment again. And it’s important to set the tone in the first game, showing the rest of Group F that they’re fighting for second place.

Predicted Lineups

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, Iñigo, Balde; Gündogan, Romeu, De Jong; Yamal, Lewandowski, Félix

Antwerp (4-2-3-1): Butez; Bataille, Alderweireld, Coulibaly, De Laet; Keita, Vermeeren; Muja, Ekkelenkamp, Balikwisha; Janssen

TV Coverage

The game in Spain will be live on TV in many African countries. The clash will be shown live in South African, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya on SuperSport.

Canal Plus will also show the game for people in Togo, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and South America to watch live.

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