International Friendly – Barcelona vs. Vissel Kobe

By  Jonathan Willis

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

International Friendly – Barcelona vs. Vissel Kobe

Barcelona will play the last game of their Japanese tour this summer on Saturday when they take on domestic side Vissel Kobe in a match that is going to be watched by every soccer fan in Japan. The Blaugrana have one of the biggest international fanbases of any club in the world, so this match will be broadcast by various providers around the globe and the Worldwide Leader will give early risers something to wake up to before they’ve had their morning coffee in the United States.

Don’t miss this international friendly between Barcelona and Vissel Kobe from the Noevir Stadium Kobe in Misaki Park, Japan. The match will kick off at 5 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 27. It will be broadcast on ESPN.

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The Blaugrana fell to Chelsea 2-1 in Saitama on Tuesday, dropping their first match of the preseason. It was the first chance to see Antoine Griezmann in action though, and he did impress Barca fans with what they saw up front over the first 45 minutes.

Griezmann was sharp in fitting into the free-flowing style that Barcelona plays. There were concerns about some rough patches after playing at defensive-minded Atletico Madrid for so long, but his play with the French national team should have put those worries to bed. With France, we have seen him sparkle with flashy midfielders, and we saw the same against Chelsea.

Barcelona Preview

Most of Barcelona’s contingent traveled to Japan for the preseason, but not everyone shined on Tuesday. Sergio Busquets’ blunder led to the game’s first goal, as he had a pass deep in his own end blocked by Jorginho, giving Tammy Abraham a golden opportunity that he took advantage of. Busquets looked out of sorts, and so did Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The debate continues to rage on whether or not ter Stegen is a world-class goalkeeper, as he seems to make critical mistakes right when you think he’s nearly proven himself. It’s not a concern for Barca just yet, but it might be if it continues.

Aside from Griezmann, others looked great in their first match of the year. Riqui Puig is still a teenager, but he is a future star in the midfield. Nelson Semedo was solid on the outside of the defense, while Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet looked strong in the center. Ivan Rakitic scored a wonderful goal in extra time to notch Barca’s lone tally.

Vissel Kobe Preview

There are some very familiar names on J1 League side Vissel Kobe. Former Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta is the captain and headliner, and David Villa was added earlier this year. Sergi Samper made the move to Japan this year as well, making this match a reunion of sorts. German national Lukas Podolski is on the roster too, but he hasn’t played in two months.

Despite the star power, Vissel Kobe has not looked sharp in domestic play. Currently, they are in 15th place in the standings with a 6-3-11 record, and they are just three points ahead of the relegation zone. They have yet to finish any better than seventh in the top division of Japanese football.

Key Absences

Two of Barcelona’s stars did not join the team in Japan, and they will miss this match. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both took part in Copa America, so after an extended period of action, the club gave them extra time to rest and recuperate. Not having Messi always leads to a diminished Barcelona, but this is preseason.

Barcelona vs Vissel Kobe Prediction

These matches are always somewhat for show, and we shouldn’t see anything too physical with Iniesta, Villa, and Samper all playing their former club. Barca’s young guns will want to impress, so they will win the match handily, but there should be some heartwarming moments.

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