Champions League

Barca prepare for title defence

2015-09-15 08:36
Luis Enrique (AFP)

Roma - AS Roma supporters may be looking ahead to Barcelona's Champions League visit with some trepidation and coach Rudi Garcia certainly does not seem to be bursting with optimism.

Roma have finished second in Serie A for the last two seasons but still there is still a clear gap between themselves and Europe's top clubs, despite the addition of Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah.

Barcelona's visit to the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday, which kicks off their Champions League title defence, comes just under a year after Roma lost 7-1 at home to Bayern Munich in the same competition.

The Bavarians sliced through the Roma defence almost at will as they scored five goals in a bewildering half hour spell in the first half.

Roma went on to finish third in the group after taking one point in two games off Manchester City while domestically they have come up short in matches against Juventus, with three defeats in their last four league meetings,

With that in mind, Garcia has already made it clear that he would be happy to finish second in a group that also includes Champions League regulars Bayer Leverkusen and Belarus champions BATE Borisov.

"The target in the Champions League is to get past the group stage and to the round of 16," Garcia said in an interview last week with Radio Monte Carlo. "Behind Barcelona, it is an open group."

There was just a hint of optimism when he said: "Everybody is convinced that they will get 18 points, so that implies getting six off us, but sometimes miracles happen in football.

"We've got nothing to lose and we've got to do all we can to upset the odds."

The match takes Barcelona coach Luis Enrique back to the club where he spent an unimpressive season in 2011/12, when Roma were clearly in transition.

The two sides last met 13 years ago, again in the Champions League second group stage, when they drew 1-1 in Barcelona and Roma won the return 3-0 with Luis Enrique in the Barcelona side.

Incredibly, there is one playing survivor from those games - Roma playmaker Francesco Totti who will 39 at the end of the month.

"I want to win at least one title with my captain, Francesco Totti," said Garcia. "I don't know if Totti or the Pope are more important in Rome, but I can certainly say that for Francesco, the Roma shirt is like a second stint.

"He's an extraordinary player, on and off the field, and we are just pacing him in training, but he never asks for any special favours."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.