Barcelona will face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League tonight with the burden of expectancy weighing on them.

This is now their time. Manager Ernesto Valverde has survived European horror shows against Roma and Liverpool in the last two years and knows lifting the biggest prize of all will be required for him to stay in the job for longer.

While Barcelona are yet to really get going this season, enduring a mixed start in La Liga, fans are hoping for solace on the road.

The problem for the Catalan giants is, though, that expectations have increased after the summer.

Barcelona landed Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid in one of the biggest deals of the transfer window.

They forked out £106million to sign the France international because they believed he was the ticket to Champions League glory.

Griezmann might be. He’s one of the best forwards in world football, showing that during his time at Atletico.

The 28-year-old is also yet to play alongside Lionel Messi in Catalonia.

When they do eventually team up – and that may be tonight, with Messi back in training – wins will be expected.

When you have a front three of Messi, Griezmann and Luis Suarez you have enough firepower to beat any team in world football.

And there’s pressure on the World Cup winner to be the difference and justify Barcelona’s decision to sign him.

Another summer recruit was Frenkie de Jong.

The midfielder flourished for Ajax in the competition last season, famously dominating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

Barcelona fans can be forgiven for the Dutchman to be another key player in their quest for a Champions League win.

But with both signings comes the expectancy.

Barcelona don’t tend to do well when the spotlight is on them – with a trend developing even when Pep Guardiola was boss.

In 2010, the Catalan giants seemed destined to win the Champions League.

But with expectancy weighing on them they buckled with Inter Milan stunning them at the semi-final stage.

In both of Valverde’s years at the helm, Barca have been among the favourites to make the latter stages of the competition.

Few gave Roma a chance of beating them in 2018 – likewise Liverpool earlier this year after a 3-0 defeat at the Nou Camp.

But, on both occasions, Barcelona have allowed the occasion to get the better of them.

That means, ahead of their game against Dortmund tonight, the Catalan giants have a problem.

But whether they can overcome the pressure and get their European campaign off to a flier remains to be seen.



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