FC Barcelona now have a mountain to climb after being held to a 0-0 draw by Benfica on Matchday 5 in the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League. New manager Xavi Hernandez dipped his toes in the European tournament for the first time as coach, and despite all the optimism surrounding his arrival, the Catalan giants could only manage a draw. They are now in real danger of missing out on advancing to the knockout stages, meaning they could potentially lose millions of euros.
Barcelona looked like they had a fresh spring in their step since Xavi took over, but despite dominating possession on Tuesday evening, it was not enough to secure three points and the second spot in the Group E standings. As it stands, Bayern Munich are through to the Last 16 with 15 points, Barcelona are second with 7 points, but Benfica are just two points behind.
That means that the Blaugrana have a must-win match away at Munich on Matchday 6. Following the 3-0 thrashing they received at the Camp Nou from the Bundesliga side, things are not looking good.
If they lose again, the cash-strapped club won't just suffer the humiliation of getting kicked out at the Group Stage, they will also suffer a massive financial blow. The draw itself earned them 930,000 euros. However, if they had won against Benfica, it would have been a 2.8 million euro payday.
If they win against Bayern Munich, that's a 2.8 million income plus an additional 9.6 million for making it to the next round. According to AS, they could potentially rake in an additional 10.6 million if they go as far as the quarters.
Needless to say, they will be losing out on a lot of potential revenue if they lose against the Germans. The draw against Benfica was a missed opportunity, as they could have secured their spot if they won. Now, they have a tougher match against Bayern ahead of them, and are at real risk of missing out.
It will not be an ideal scenario for Xavi, who will not only be dumped prematurely out of the Champions League, he will also have a lot less funds to work with when the winter transfer window opens in just a few weeks.