Difficult matches will be played in the second leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. The excitement will start at the Turk Telekom Arena where Turkish Galatasaray will host Spain’s Barcelona.
Spanish Seville will fly to the London Stadium to face English side West Ham United, while Scotland’s Rangers will clash with Red Star Belgrade. Moreover, Sporting Braga will meet the French team Monaco, while Italy’s Atlanta will play German Bayer Leverkusen.
Five-time European champions Barcelona are still adjusting to the unfamiliar surroundings of the continent’s secondary competition after crashing out of the Champions League in the group stage for the first time in 18 years.
The past few years have been rough on the Catalans, but it was finally Xavi who cracked the code. Confidence now seems to ooze out of every player’s veins, and the team finally has a direction.
Barcelona failed to secure a lead over Galatasaray at home in the first leg which ended with goalless draw.
Barcelona qualified to the round of 16 after beating the Italian team Napoli. The last time Barcelona met Galatasaray was in the 2002/03 season, when the Catalans defeated the Turkish giant 2-0 in the first leg, and then 3-1 in the second leg of the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (UCL).
The first confrontation between the two teams was in the 1993/94 season, which ended in a goalless draw. In the second game, Barcelona won 3-0. In the following season, each of them won 2-1 on their respective home grounds.
Outside the UCL, Galatasaray met Barcelona four times; they tied once 2-2, and Barcelona won the other three games by 1-0, 2-0, and 3-1.
In total, the two teams played nine matches, Barcelona won five, Galatasaray won one, and three matches ended in a draw. The Catalans scored 14 goals against Galatasaray, and conceded six.
Meanwhile, Galatasaray qualified to the top of Group E at the expense of Italy’s Lazio.
Galatasaray coach Dominic Torrent seeks to achieve a surprise against Barcelona, despite the difficulty of the confrontation, especially in light of the great brilliance of the Catalan team locally and continentally during the past matches.
In the same round, West Ham United will meet the stubborn opponent of Seville. In the first leg, the Spanish side won 1-0 by Mounir El Haddadi.