AS unlikely as it sounds, Barcelona star Lionel Messi is still waiting to score his first goal against Chelsea after drawing a blank in eight previous Champions League matches.
The teams have produced some epic games in the past although they have not met in the Champions League since Chelsea pulled off a remarkable backs-to-the-wall semi-final victory over Barcelona on the way to winning the trophy in 2012.
CHELSEA v BARCELONA
Eden Hazard is expected to operate in an unusual centre-forward role after Chelsea boss Antonio Conte left Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata on the bench for Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, first leg against Barcelona.
Hazard will be flanked by former Barca winger Pedro Rodriguez and Willian, who scored twice against Hull.
Conte also left club captain Gary Cahill on the bench with Cesar Azpilicueta (capt), Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger starting in a back three.
Paulinho beat Andre Gomes to a place in the Barca midfield in the only doubt over Ernesto Valverde’s starting line-up.
The prolific partnership of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who have 47 goals between them this season, start up front for the visitors.
However, Messi is looking for just his second win and first goal against Chelsea in his ninth outing against the Blues.
Chelsea (3-4-3) Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta (capt), Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger; Victor Moses, N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Eden Hazard, Pedro Rodriguez Coach: Antonio Conte (ITA)
Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta (capt), Ivan Rakitic, Paulinho; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez Coach: Ernesto Valverde (ESP)
BAYERN v BESIKTAS
Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes opted to leave wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben on the bench for Tuesday’s Champions League clash at home to Besiktas, with Thomas Mueller and Kingsley Coman starting.
Heynckes, 72, also selected James Rodriguez to play alongside Javi Martinez and Arturo Vidal in midfield for the last-16 first leg, with Robert Lewandowski up front.
Bayern are hoping to reach the quarter-finals for the seventh year in a row. Besiktas coach Senol Gunes has brought winger Ricardo Quaresma, a Euro 2016 winnner with Portugal, and centre-back Domagoj Vida back into the starting line-up.
Bayern Munich (4-1-4-1) Sven Ulreich – Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, David Alaba – Javi Martinez – Thomas Mueller (capt), Arturo Vidal, James Rodriguez, Kingsley Coman – Robert Lewandowski Coach: Jupp Heynckes (GER)
Besiktas (4-2-3-1) Fabri – Adriano, Pepe, Domagoj Vida, Caner Erkin – Atiba Hutchinson (capt), Gary Medel – Ricardo Quaresma, Talisca, Ryan Babel – Vagner Love Coach: Senol Gunes (TUR) Referee: Ovidiu Hategan
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