Barcelona: Three Champions League opponents to avoid

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Barcelona go into Friday's Champions League draw as defending champions and the team that everyone wants to beat.

If they are able to safely negotiate the group stages of the competition, there's every reason to expect that they can go close again, or even become the first team in the modern era to retain the trophy in its current format.

The Catalans certainly have a team able to do so and with the FIFA ban ending in January, arguably there will be more new faces to choose from in the latter stages of the competition.


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However, complacency has been the downfall of many teams before now, and if Luis Enrique and his side think that it's a formality to be involved to get to the business end unscathed, they could be in for a rude awakening.

Let's take a look at three teams that the club would prefer to avoid in the group stage...

Manchester City (Pot 2)

Could it be third time lucky for Manuel Pellegrini's men?

Starting with three wins out of three in the Premier League and no goals conceded, the Citizens are in great shape. 

Raheem Sterling seems to have settled well after his long drawn out transfer saga, and Nicolas Otamendi will provide the club with some steel at the heart of the defence alongside captain Vincent Kompany.

When the draw was made for the knockout stage last year, the talk was of who City would meet in the next round, but by the time of the actual games, Barca were slap bang in the middle of their best form of the season.

Pellegrini won't forget that in a hurry and if there is the chance for revenge, expect City to do their level best to take it.

AS Roma (Pot 3)

Lucas Digne is the latest player to come through the doors at AS Roma.

His loan signing follows similar purchases for Man City's Edin Dzeko, Chelsea's Mohamed Salah and Arsenal's Wojciech Szczesny.

Rudi Garcia will fancy his teams' chances of doing well domestically and in Europe and although they've suffered some horrific recent reverses in the competition, they remain a danger.

Most of their summer signings have a point to prove and are therefore hungry for success.

Over two legs the Giallorossi have enough quality to trouble any team and will be dark horses for group winners.

VfL Wolfsburg (Pot 4)

Although Kevin de Bruyne may have made a move to the Premier League by the time of the first match, the Germans still have enough about them to cause Barca problems.

Andre Schurrle has rekindled his love affair with football at the club and although Bas Dost blows hot and cold, the Catalans still have difficulties dealing with an out and out target man.

They have enjoyed a good start to the season and are a well drilled and diligent bunch of players, expertly tutored by Dieter Hecking.

With little pressure on them, Wolfsburg will be a danger to any time in their group. 

Barcelona fans, is there any of these three sides you would/wouldn't want to meet? Let us know in the comments box below.

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