Barcelona vs Galatasaray – LIVE Reddit Soccer 10/03/2022
Barcelona will aim to move one step closer to Europa League glory when they welcome Galatasaray to Camp Nou for the first leg of their last-16 battle on Thursday evening. The Catalan giants defeated Napoli 5-3 on aggregate to make it this far, while their visitors qualified first from the group stage in Europe’s secondary competition. There was a time not that long ago when Barcelona and Galatasaray would both be in the hat for the knockout stages of the Champions League, but Xavi is now navigating the unfamiliar territory of the Europa League, which the club took to quite quickly in the playoff round.
After being held to a 1-1 draw by Napoli at home in the first leg of their playoff tie, La Blaugrana dusted off their best shooting boots to claim a 4-2 win in Naples and advance to the last-16, and things may finally be starting to look up for the Catalan club. Ferran Torres and Memphis Depay both came off the bench to steer Barcelona to a 2-1 win against Elche in the weekend’s La Liga fixture, which represented the Blaugrana’s fourth win on the bounce in all competitions as Xavi weaves his magic.
There is the small matter of El Clasico with Real Madrid and a meeting with high-flying Sevilla to come for Barcelona in the next few weeks, but having racked up 14 goals in their four-game winning streak, they are certainly hitting form at a crucial moment in the season. Barca’s unbeaten streak in all competitions now stands at eight matches since defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey back in January, and having also suffered just two defeats in their last 35 European knockout games at Camp Nou, Galatasaray could be in for a rough ride.
Still unbeaten in the 2021-22 Europa League, Galatasaray’s group with Marseille, Lazio and Lokomotiv Moscow was hardly a cakewalk, but the Turkish giants amassed 12 points from a possible 18 to qualify for the last-16 stage as group winners. This week’s visitors to Camp Nou could not keep the momentum going domestically, though, as they embarked on an alarming five-game losing streak across league and cup competition before seemingly turning a corner with the appointment of Domenec Torrent to replace Fatih Terim.
However, after navigating their four Super Lig fixtures in February without defeat, Galatasaray warmed up for the first leg with a 2-0 defeat away to Konyaspor, with their miserable streak over the winter months seeing them plummet down the rankings into the bottom half. Galatasaray ought to be encouraged by their 10-game unbeaten streak in this season’s Europa League since entering in the qualifiers, but it is now 10 matches in all competitions without a clean sheet for Torrent’s side, who do not have fond memories of previous meetings with Barcelona.
Indeed, Barcelona have come up trumps in the last three meetings between the sides – the most recent one being a 3-1 Champions League group-stage win in 2002 – and Galatasaray’s solitary triumph in this fixture came all the way back in 1994.
Barcelona have showed real improvement since Xavi came in as manager and they’ll fancy their chances of winning this tournament. Will they take a first leg lead here? Find out with our Barcelona vs Galatasaray match preview with free tips, predictions and odds mentioned along the way.
We kick off our Barcelona vs Galatasaray predictions by backing the hosts to run out comfortable winners; we are tipping Barca to win with a one goal handicap. Barcelona haven’t lost a game inside 90 minutes in 17 and have won their last four heading into this match; three of those wins have been won by a margin greater than one goal. Galatasaray meanwhile have been in mixed form with their away form in particular rather poor; they’ve lost three of their last five on the road with each of those defeats being by at least a two goal margin. The sides actually met in the Champions League back in the 2002/03 season; Barca won both meetings by more than one goal.
Backing this game to go over 3.5 goals is a little ambitious but the step up in odds compared to over 2.5 make the value on offer hugely appealing. Barcelona have gone over 3.5 in three of their last five games. Galatasaray meanwhile have gone over the 3.5 mark in two of their past three games. On top of that, whilst we fully expect Barca to be asking most of the questions in this game and neither boast a watertight defence; Barca have kept one clean sheet in five games with Galatasaray not keeping any in the same period of time.
The first-leg fixtures of the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League will kick off this Thursday night, and tournament favourites Barcelona will be in action at Camp Nou as they play hosts to Turkish giants Galatasaray.
Barcelona are playing in the second-tier continental competition for the first time in close to 18 years, having had to drop down after a third-place finish in their Champions League group. Drawn against Napoli in the knockout playoffs, the Blaugrana were in a precarious position after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. But, a stunning 4-2 victory in the second leg meant that they made it through to the Last 16.
Xavi Hernandez’s side head into Thursday’s game in fine form, picking up four wins in a row in all competitions during which they have scored 14 goals and conceded just four. Their latest game ended in a comeback 2-1 win over Elche.
Galatasaray, meanwhile, finished atop Group E in the Europa League that involved tricky opponents like Lazio, Marseille and Lokomotiv Moscow. The Turkish heavyweights did not lose a single game (W3 D3) in the group stage and qualified directly to the Round of 16.
Managed by the assistant coach of former Barcelona manager Domenec Torrent, Galatasaray have hit a rocky patch of form of late, winning only two of their last six games (D2 L2), with their most recent encounter ending in a 2-0 defeat to Konyaspor. On Thursday, they will have their task cut out against an in-form Barcelona side in front of a packed Camp Nou.