Former Barcelona teammates Luis Enrique and Frank de Boer take on each other at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night as the Catalan giants host Ajax in the Champions League Group F clash.
Enrique and de Boer had played together for the Blaugrana for four years - between 1999 and 2003 - under manager Louis van Gaal, winning a La Liga title. However, they will both put that friendship aside when their teams meet at the Camp Nou tonight.
Barca enter this tie after a 3-2 loss away to Paris Saint-Germain in their previous group match. It was also the Spanish outfit's first defeat of the season and also the first goals they conceded in all competitions up to that point.
The Catalans are sitting pretty atop the La Liga table, with 22 points (from a possible 24) after the first eight games, and four clear of Real Madrid. And with the El Clasico set for this weekend, Enrique will be tempted to rest some of his key players against Ajax - a team he knows a lot about.
"We will have to produce a complete performance to beat Ajax, a team of many strengths. Ajax are a well-structured side, one that knows how to attack, how to press. Ajax's positional play is very good. They can play short and long passes and they find solutions in all areas. They press in defence − they don't hesitate − and counterattack really well," the Spaniard pointed out.
"This is our third match. We won one, lost the second and this one is very important. We are at home and it is key to our qualification. The players understand the importance of these three points if we want to progress from the group."
Ajax, on the other hand, have managed just two draws so far in Group F, which also involves APOEL Nicosia. The Dutch side knows they have to step on the gas now if they harbour any hopes of qualifying to the Round of 16, and will be looking to cause an upset tonight.
de Boer's men are not having a gala time on the domestic front as well, with PSV Eindhoven leading the Eredivisie table by four points. However, the manager insists that his players will be up for the challenge tonight.
"Barcelona are at a higher level compared to us and have more experience. For every team playing here, it is difficult to collect points, but we will try. For me, the most important thing is that we play according to our style and with confidence," de Boer stressed.
"I believe that we have grown [compared to the last season], and that we are not inferior to big teams. This is our moment; we just have to keep faith in our philosophy. We have to play our football and do it in the best possible way."
When the two teams met in the group stages at Camp Nou last season, the hosts won 4-0, with a certain Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick.
Barcelona: Adriano (groin) is a confirmed absentee while Sergio Busquets (unspecified), Douglas (foot), Thomas Vermaelen (match fitness) are doubtful for this tie.
Ajax: Viktor Fischer (hamstring), Thulani Serero (hamstring) and Nicolai Boilesen (concussion) remain sidelined for this fixture.
Barcelona: ter Stegen; Montoya, Bartra, Mathieu, Alba; Samper, Rakitic, Iniesta; Munir, Messi, Neymar
Ajax: Cillessen; van Rhijn, Moisander, Veltman, Viergever; Klaassen, Zimling, Andersen; Kishna, Sigthorsson, El Ghazi
Where to Watch Live
The game is set for a 12.15am IST (7.45pm BST, 2.45 pm EDT) start, with live coverage on Ten HD in India. Indian viewers can also stream the match live on Ten Sports Live.
Catch the action in the UK live on Sky Sports 5 and Sky Sports 5 HD, with an option to live stream the match online on Sky GO. Viewers in the US can watch the Champions League game on Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Sports 1 USA, with an option to live stream on FoxSoccer2Go.
Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can watch the match on beIN Sports Arabia 1 HD, or via live streaming online courtesy beIN Sports Connect. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa viewers can watch the match on SuperSport 6 Africa or SuperSport online.