BARCELONA are in unchartered territory as they host Napoli in the Europa League.
The Catalans were dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich after needing a win to finish above Benfica.
That leaves Barca in Europe's second tier competition for the first time since 2004, when they were knocked out by Celtic.
And they couldn't have been handed a tougher draw after being paired with Napoli in the round of 32.
Luciano Spalletti's side left it until the final day to book their place in the Europa League knockout stages.
A brace from Elif Elmas saw them dispatch Leicester to the Europa Conference League in an entertaining 3-2 triumph.
What time does Barcelona vs Napoli kick off?
- Barcelona take on Napoli on Thursday, February 17 – TODAY.
- The match kicks off at 5.45pm UK time – 6.45pm local time.
- It takes place at the Nou Camp.
- The sides last met in 2020 when Barca ran out 3-1 winners at the same venue to secure a 4-2 aggregate triumph in the Champions League.
What TV channel is Barcelona vs Napoli on and can I live stream it?
- Barcelona vs Napoli is live on BT Sport ESPN.
- Coverage commences at 5.30pm – 15 minutes before kick-off.
- To stream the game live, head to the BT Sport website or app.
Are there away goals in the Europa League this year?
Away goals have been AXED for Champions League and Europa League ties for the first time this season.
This won't come into play until the second leg but if the scores are level at the end of the second leg, the teams will play two halves of 15 minutes of extra time.
If the scores are level at the end of extra time the tie will go to penalties.
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Barcelona will be without a few players, including Samuel Umtiti, Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto.
Alejandro Balde and Memphis Depay may also miss the game throujjgh injury.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, however, could finally make his full debut for the Catalan giants.
For Napoli, both Hirving Lozano and Matteo Politano are injured, but Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa will feature in the Italian side's starting XI.
*Odds from Betfair correct as of Monday, February 14
- Nyle Smith
Going through the time portal
For all the times that they have both qualified for the Champions League, Barcelona vs Napoli never seems to happen on a regular occurrence which makes it ironic that they have drawn each other in the Europa League.
However, they did go head to head in footballs biggest club competition in 2020 and a certain Argentinian magician grabbed the headlines but admittedly not for all the right reasons.
Lionel Messi stunned the media when the 7x ballon d’Or winner stated that Barcelona will not win the CL after an unconvincing first leg performance which led to a 1-1 tie.
However, that was the reality check the Catalonians needed because in round two, Clement Lenglet nodded Barca in front, Messi danced around four defenders before curling it home and Luis Suarez secured a quarter-finals place from the penalty spot by making it 3-1 on the night but 4-1 on aggregate.
Funny enough Lorenzo Insigne did pull one back for Gli Azzurri shortly after Barcelona’s spot-kick which meant that all four goals were in the first 45 minutes but it turned out to be a constellation because the score line stayed that way until the final whistle.
- Nyle Smith
Here are Betfair’s latest odds
Barca to win – 10/11
Napoli to win – 29/10
*Odds from Betfair are correct at the time of publication.
- Nyle Smith
Welcome to Barcelona vs Napoli
Greetings SunSport community on this fine Thursday afternoon here in the UK. I hope everyone is currently Covid-19 free and if not, wishing you a speedy recovery.
Oh how the might have fallen ladies and gentleman because our live blog coverage will be featuring Barcelona welcoming Napoli to the Camp Nou in a Europa League last 32 fixture.
Yes, you read that correctly. The 5x Champions League winners have been demoted to Europe’s second tier club cup competition for the first time since 2004 and their opponents are no push-overs either.
Napoli have been in fantastic form this season. Gli Azzuri only missed out on securing top spot in their group due to the head-to-head record and they are occupying 3rd place in Serie A, only two points off league leaders AC Milan.
As for their opponents, despite Barcelona going through a crisis, the Catalan giants are still one of the world’s biggest football clubs and their January window proved this when the former Premier League trio, Ferran Torres, Adama Traore and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all made the switch to the Camp Nou.
In years gone by, this game would have been a nailed on Champions League fixture but instead, it is another example of how unpredictable football is.
Make sure to keep clicking that refresh button people because coming up we will be bringing you any gossip, injury updates and the highly anticipated starting line-ups all before kick-off scheduled for 5:45pm UK time or 6:45pm local time.
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