Royal Antwerp begin their UEFA Champions League group stage debut on Tuesday with an away trip to Barcelona. The two teams have been pooled together in Group H alongside Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk. Barcelona are coming off an impressive 5-0 hiding of Real Betis on Saturday. The home win kept their unbeaten start to the league intact as they have now won their last four games. Xavi Hernandez’s men have been in explosive form in attack and have scored 13 goals in those four outings. Five different players scored against Betis with Robert Lewandowski also on target for the third game in a row. The Blaugrana were disappointingly eliminated from the group stages of the Champions League last season and will not want a reoccurrence of that.
Royal Antwerp are in the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history. This is all thanks to their home-and-away victories against AEK Athens in the playoffs. The Belgian champions won 3-1 on aggregate against AEK with the second leg away in Greece ending 2-1. They will hope for a similar outcome to have a dream start to the competition. Antwerp, though unbeaten in their last six matches, have had a rocky start to the season. They have won six of their last nine games with another two ending in a share of the spoils. Their only loss came away to Anderlecht in the league. Marc van Bommel’s men defeated Westerlo 3-0 away from home on Friday in their last match.
Our prediction for Barcelona v Royal Antwerp is for the match to see over 2.5 goals scored. Barcelona are in stunning form at the moment, especially in attack and have scored 13 goals in their last four games. With Antwerp a bit shaky in defence, a high score is a likely outcome here.