Marc Overmars, one of the heroes of FC Barcelona’s 3-1 victory at Liverpool FC on Matchday Seven, has been left out of the starting line up for tonight’s UEFA Champions League game against Galatasaray SK. Instead coach Carles Rexach gives the nod to precocious Argentinian playmaker Javier Saviola for the Group B match at the Camp Nou stadium with Overmars named on the bench.
De Boer missing
Rexach also makes changes in defence. Carles Puyol is available again having missed the Liverpool game through suspension and returns at right-back. At left-back Francesco Coco comes in for Gabri García, who covered for him in Saturday’s Spanish first division defeat at Deportivo Alavés. Philippe Christanval starts in the centre of defence in place of Frank de Boer.
Through the pain
Luis Enrique is sidelined with a muscle strain, so the midfield is made up of Philip Cocu, Xavi Hernández and Fabio Rochemback. Up front Rivaldo, who has been hampered by a niggling thigh injury, plays through the pain barrier in partnership with Patrick Kluivert and Saviola.
Shaky league form
Despite getting off to a flying start in the second group stage at Anfield stadium, Barcelona’s domestic form has been shaky. The Catalan side have suffered consecutive defeats against Athletic Club de Bilbao and Alavés which have seen them drop to eighth place in the table.
Galatasaray will be hoping to take full advantage. The Turkish side will be anxious to erase memories of their 1-1 draw with AS Roma at the Ali Sami Yen stadium two weeks ago when they conceded a 92nd-minute equaliser.
Suspended striker Hasan Sas is replaced by Ergün Penbe, who starts in a more withdrawn role as one of three attacking midfielders playing behind lone forward Ümit Karan. Bülent Akin is given the central midfield holding role.
Walking a tightrope
Coach Mircea Lucescu makes one other change from the Roma game bringing in Uruguayan Andres Fleurquin for midfield player Sergen Yalçin who is on the bench. Three members of Galatasaray’s five-man defence - Capone, Emre Asik and Hakan Ünsal - are within one yellow card of a ban.
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