Another Champions League Tuesday is here, and with it comes another encounter between two European giants – Chelsea and Barcelona. While the game in London will be at the center of attention, in Germany, Bayern will look to take care of business against Besiktas. So, which are the players you should watch for?
– With six goals in his last six games in all competitions, Eden Hazard is finding his best form at the right time. He’s Chelsea’s clutch player, and it’ll need him to make an impact if Conte is to get his revenge. The Belgian international will have the extra incentive of facing off against Leo Messi, a player he has repeatedly admitted he admires. Hazard is The Blues’ top scorer in the Premier League and is the main creator when the team struggles to find its way in matches. Quick-thinking and sneaky on the dribble, Eden will give Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique headaches all night. He’ll have to, otherwise Chelsea will be in big trouble.
– When Neymar decided to dig his own career path, people started wondering how will Barca (and Messi) handle his departure. As it turns out, Messi is Messi regardless of who plays besides him. The Argentinian was probably less influential because of Neymar’s presence, feeling like he didn’t have to do as much on the field. Now, that Barcelona depends on him, he has not only stepped up, he has thrived under the pressure. With 20 goals and 11 assists, he has contributed to the most amount of goals in Europe. Barcelona is undefeated. Large part of the credit goes to Ernesto Valverde and how he has handled the squad in his first season in charge. However, “The Messiah” is the one carrying this team. He can make something out of nothing and change the complexity of any game with just a short moment of inspiration. Oh, and he has never scored versus The Blues. Never. If that’s not motivation enough, I don’t know what is.
– The world’s best №.9 according to many, Lewandowski has the ability to single-handedly destroy opponents on any given day. He has led Bayern Munich in goals in every season he has been with the team. Having been rested during the weekend and playing against an inexperienced CL squad like Besiktas can signify a feast night for the “Polish Rifle”. I expect Bayern to dominate this match and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a hat-trick behind Lewandowski’s last name when is all set and done.
– The 24-year-old Brazilian was one of the best talents in Benfica’s squad. However, inconsistencies in his game along with an edgy personality, meant he never received the necessary playing time to fulfill his potential. Therefore, The Portuguese giants decided to loan him to Besiktas in 2016 and he has been there ever since. His game has grown under the guidance of Ricardo Quaresma, to the point where he’s now irreplaceable for the Turkish champions, and a huge part of their group stage success. He’s extremely agile for his height and has a simultaneously accurate and powerful left foot, which is quite rare to find. Besiktas’ odds of leaving Allianz Arena happy are slim to none. But, if anyone’s gifted enough to make a difference in their team, it’s Talisca.