Barcelona vs Napoli preview: Messi and Co can still finish on a high

Barcelona will look to extend a disappointing season tonight when they host Napoli in a decisive Champions League last-16 tie. 

Lionel Messi had harsh words for his side after surrendering the LaLiga title to Real Madrid and they will be desperate to salvage some silverware from a frustrating campaign.

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Barca are favourites to progress at Camp Nou having not lost a European game there in 35 attempts.

And while bitter rivals Real have taken all the plaudits in recent years with their success in Europe, the Catalan giants have not been knocked out prior to the quarter-finals since 2007.

Those stats show just how tough a task it will be for Napoli on their very first visit to the Camp Nou for a competitive match.

Despite playing some eye-catching football and being the main challengers to dominant Juventus in Serie A in recent seasons, Napoli flatter to deceive at Europe’s top table.

This is just the third time they have reached the Champions League knockout stages in the past 10 years.

And while they avoided defeat away from home in this season’s group stage, the Italians have only picked up one win from their previous 10 trips in the competition.

Dries Mertens has already netted six Champions League goals but skipper Lorenzo Insigne is an injury doubt and his absence would be a major blow.

Messi has scored just twice for Barca in Europe this season but has netted twice in four of their last five home knockout ties.

The winners of this clash are likely to face Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals. The Germans hold a commanding 3-0 lead over Chelsea going into tonight’s second leg at the Allianz Arena.

Did you know?

Barcelona have progressed from each of their last 19 Champions League knockout ties after avoiding defeat in the first leg away from home.

Barcelona’s run of 35 home Champions League games without defeat (31 wins and four draws) is the second-longest in the history of the European Cup/Champions League.

Napoli have failed to progress from nine of their last 10 UEFA European knockout ties when failing to win the first leg.

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