Spurs come into the game placed second on the Group B log (behind Barcelona, who have already qualified for the knockout stages as pool winners) with seven points from five matches.
However, Mauricio Pochettino’s team are clinging onto the final qualifying berth by their fingernails, as Italian giants Internazionale also have seven points – only Tottenham’s away goal in the teams’ two group stage meetings sees then ranked ahead of the Nerazzurri.
Inter beat Spurs 2-1 in Milan back in September, but a 1-0 win for the London side at Wembley late last month has put them right back in contention to join Barcelona in the knockout rounds in 2019.
Yet the problem for Spurs is that they must match Inter’s result to stay in second place, and the Serie A giants have a far more amenable game ahead of them as they take on Eredivisie champions PSV Eindhoven (who will finish bottom of the log regardless of the result at the San Siro).
Thus, Spurs must not only claim a first-ever win over Barcelona, but they must do so at the Camp Nou in Catalonia – anything less and it’s highly likely they will end up in the Europa League rather than contesting knockout football with the best teams on the continent.
The good news is that Barca, with top spot already in the bag, may opt to rest their star players such as Lionel Messi. And manager Ernesto Valverde’s side will be coming into the game on the back of a tough derby against cross-town rivals Espanyol on the night of Saturday, 8 December.
However, the Spanish side completely outclassed Tottenham at Wembley when the teams met back in October (Messi masterminded a 4-2 win) and even without some of their top players the Blaugrana are never easily beaten on home soil.
Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur – Head-to-head, European competitions
Matches played 3
Barca wins 2
Spurs wins 0
Last five results (Champions League only, most recent first)
Barcelona – WDWWW
Spurs – WWDLL