Seven Deadly Stats ahead of Barcelona vs Chelsea in the Champions League

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Lionel Messi broke his goal drought against Chelsea in the first leg.

After their 1-1 first leg draw, Barcelona will host Chelsea in their last 16 Champions League decider at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night.

The two sides have had some highly engaging European battles over the years and their second leg clash promises to be no different.

Here, we take a look at the seven deadly stats centred around the two heavyweights.

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MATCH STATS

9 – Remarkably, Chelsea are undefeated in their past nine matches against Barcelona in all competitions – with their last loss to Barcelona being way back in February 2006.

4 – At the Camp Nou, Barcelona have drawn the previous four meetings with the west Londoners – with the most recent of those coming in April 2012.

881Luis Suarez is enduring a goal drought in Champions League competition and has failed to find the back of net in 881 minutes, dating back to his strike against PSG 12 months ago.

6 – Willian will no doubt be a key man for the away side again and six of his last nine Champions League goals for the King’s Road side have come outside of the box (67 per cent).

8 – Having broken his duck against Chelsea in the first leg (his only goal in nine matches against the English outfit), Lionel Messi has now scored eight goals in his past five matches against opposition from the Premier League (18 in 27 in total).

13 – Out of the previous 13 meetings between the two sides, Barcelona have been victors thrice while Chelsea have won on four occasions. There have also been four draws with each team scoring 19 times apiece.

11 – Blaugrana are bidding to reach their 11th straight Champions League quarter-final and have won 19 out of 32 home European clashes with English sides in history. Interestingly, they’ve only ever lost two matches on home soil.

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Barcelona vs Chelsea team news and likely line-ups ahead of last 16 Champions League clash

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Lionel Messi is back after the birth of his third child.

Barcelona and Chelsea will lock horns again in a mouthwatering Champions League clash at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

The Premier League side stifled the La Liga leaders at Stamford Bridge last month, with Blaugrana eventually coming away with a 1-1 draw thanks to a late Lionel Messi equaliser after Willian had put the hosts ahead.

It means it is set up perfectly as both teams look to advance to the quarter-finals. The big news for Barcelona is that Messi is back after missing the weekend win over Malaga due to being present at the birth of his third son.

Get in touch with your thoughts on the game via Twitter and Facebook.

Here, we look at the likely line-ups and team news before the two sides face off in Catalonia.

BARCELONA

Club icon Andres Iniesta is set to shake off a troublesome hamstring injury and take his place at the heart of the hosts’ midfield in a welcome boost for Ernesto Valverde’s men. With Philippe Coutinho cup-tied, the experience of Brazilian Paulinho is likely to be preferred to raw talent Ousmane Dembele, who will be trusted to make a telling impact from the bench if necessary.

CHELSEA

The Blues are set to resist the temptation to field either Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud in a chief striking role while the likes of Tiemoue Bakayoko, David Luiz and Ross Barkley are all set to be unavailable. Antonio Conte’s side picks itself but Davide Zappacosta could come in should Chelsea have to contend with any late injury worries.

PREDICTED XIS

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Marlos, Ukraine's Brazil-born star carrying Shakhtar Donetsk's Champions League hopes against Roma

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Ukraine’s Brazilian-born sensation Marlos has starred for Shakhtar Donetsk in a Champions League run that could see them reach the quarter-finals for only the second time when they go to Roma on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old attacking midfielder’s silky dribbling could also make an integral part of his adopted country Ukraine’s hopes of returning to the forefront of the international scene after failing to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

A native of southern Brazil, Marlos moved to Ukraine in 2012 and became a citizen last year.

The Ukrainian player of the year for two successive seasons is the engine of a flamboyant Shakhtar side that features an eye-popping eight additional Brazilians and two Argentines.

Shakhtar edged out the Italians 2-1 at home in Kharkiv in the first leg of their last-16 encounter last month, meaning they head to the Stadio Olimpico in the driving seat.

They are also on course to retain their domestic title despite being based in three different cities over the past two years due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Shakhtar’s Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca has admitted that Marlos is vital to his side, describing him as “magical”.

Certainly, having a coach who speaks Portugese helps Marlos and the Brazilians gel into an attacking unit that has flourished in the Champions League.

Shakhtar beat Manchester City at home in the group stage and won away at Dutch champions Feyenoord despite finishing the game with 10 men.

Marlos was named February’s player of the month in Ukraine after scoring four goals and laying on three assists in three matches, leaving Shakhtar sitting pretty atop the table.

“To me, team achievements are much more important,” Marlos said after receiving the award.

Marlos (C)

Marlos began his career at Coritiba in his native Brazil, helping them win promotion before moving to giants Sao Paulo in 2009.

That was where he started to make a name for himself, regularly popping up with important goals. After moving to Ukraine Marlos settled quickly and first voiced an interest in playing for the national team in 2016 as the struggling country scouted round for help.

“If this happens, it will be my gift to Ukrainians for being so welcoming,” Marlos said at the time.

That wish came true in September when he was granted Ukrainian citizenship. It was a decision that endeared him to Ukrainians – used to players looking for work elsewhere because of four years of armed conflict in the east and hard times all around.

The news was reported back in Brazil, although there was never any suggestion that he had the potential to play for the country of his birth. Not that Ukrainians minded.

“In this difficult time for Ukraine, many athletes leave, adopting the citizenship of other countries,” said Ukraine coach and former AC Milan great Andriy Shevchenko.

“But Marlos, on the contrary, tied his future to our state. It would have been foolish not to pick such a player.”

He made his debut against Kosovo in a World Cup qualifier that Ukraine won, although they missed out on a place in Russia, finishing third in their group behind Iceland and Croatia.

Marlos has found the net 40 times in 158 appearances for Shakhtar and should be an enticing option for Ukraine for years to come.

And his belief in both club and adopted country has helped Shakhtar as they look to return to the quarter-finals, where they were well beaten by eventual winners Barcelona in 2011.

“We are confident that we will be able to get the result we need in Rome,” Marlos said.

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