I'm going through each team remaining and giving in depth coverage of their strengths, weaknesses and any other things I feel like talking about to help give you and idea of how the Champions League will play out. The first Champions League coverage will put the spotlight on the Catalians, the team who've knocked my Celtic out of Champions League competition: FC Barcelona
Barcelona easily has one of the most feared and all-around dangerous lineups in the whole world. Their list of stars spreads throughout the entire lineup, and their biggest strength is their depth throughout the entire team.
The striker position can be said to be their strongest position with Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Tierry Henry, all world class players, sometimes heading the lineup with three forwards. Other forwards include young rising stars Bojan and Gio dos Santos and experienced veterans Eidur Gudjohnsen and Santiago Ezquerro. All of these players, even the ones on the bench, could easily start at any major club in Europe or abroad, and if one striker goes down with an injury another striker that's just as good will come in to pick up the slack.
While the forwards may be the most feared part of the Barcelona side, the midfield also strikes fear and determination into the hearts of the oppostion. Stars like Ronaldinho (who divides his time between playing as a striker on the wing or an attacking midfielder), Xavi, Iniesta and Rafael Marquez are skilled passers and dribblers who have had their own fair share of goals.
Wait! There's more! Their defense is nearly impossible to score on, and it's filled with veterans like team Captain Carles Puyol, Zambrotta, Eric Abidal and Milito. In goal Victor Valdes is spectacular and rarely lets anything past him.
This team is so experienced and athletic ALL AROUND. They can attack you from any corner of the field and are often known to make plays out of nothing.
Perhaps the main reason why Barcelona is so good is that their youth system is known to raise some of the best players in the world to date. Barca players that have grown through the youth system include Bojan, dos Santos, Messi, Valdez, Xavi, Puyol, and Iniesta, some of their best players, and other youth players from Barcelona have gone on to other teams, such as Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique and Thiago Motta.
Truthfully, none come to mind immediately. Like I said before this team has experience, skill, depth and good coaching.
However one problem that may exist is their team chemistry. This problem is unavoidable when you try to build a team with the best players. The best players have the biggest egos, and when you throw all their ego's into one basket the result can be selfishness, anger for lack of playing time, and asking for large sums of money that can drain the teams funds.
It seems the player with the biggest ego problem on Barcelona is Ronaldinho, who has been under an extreme amount of scrutiny from the public and media lately, as his level of play has not been as productive as usual, and has been in noticeable arguements with head coach Frank Rijkaard and has been benched for his lack of production, lavish party life, being late to practice and his disagreements with Rijkaard.
So basically, if anything is going to stop this team, it will be themselves.
Camp Nou, Barcelona's home stadium, holds 98,772 people, making it one of the biggest stadiums in Europe.
The Catalians match up with FC Schalke of Germany in the quarterfinals, which they are expected to win. The winner of that will play the winner of the Roma vs Manchester United quarterfinal. I predict that Barcelona will fall in the semifinal, capping off another disapointing year with their eventual 2nd place finish in La Liga behind Real Madrid.
Barcelona have perhaps the best lineup in soccer right now, and they can easily take control of games no matter who they play, but if the last few years show anything they have had a tougher time playing other great teams like Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others. As proof of this, Barcelona were knocked out of the Copa Del Ray yesterday (Thursday March 20th) after losing to Valencia.