Following defeats against Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, the clash in the Czech Republic is a dead rubber. Barcelona will be forced to settle for Europa League football in the new year.
Their European campaign this season, considering the money that was spent in the summer, has been nothing short of disastrous. They only have one win to show from five group games so far, collecting a total of four points.
Due to the match's lack of importance, Xavi has decided to give fringe players an opportunity at the Camp Nou. Inaki Pena starts in goal, with recent signings Ferran Torres and Franck Kessie given rare starts, while young Pablo Torre is also in the starting XI.
But one name that jumps out on the team sheet is Pique, who has endured a miserable campaign so far.
The 35-year-old veteran will be making just his ninth appearance of the season, but his season will so far be best remembered for his bizarre error against Inter in the damaging 3-3 draw. The Spain international left the ball for the goalkeeper without realizing that an opposition player was sneaking in behind, which led to a goal.
Barcelona fans were clearly unimpressed with Pique's inclusion, as many took to Twitter to vent their frustrations:
Barcelona icon comments on Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets being booed
The Barcelona duo have done it all at the Blaugrana since graduating from the youth academy. However, they were heavily booed by supporters during their recent 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich.
Andres Iniesta recognized that while the boos wouldn't have been nice for the pair, it was only because supporters demanded the best from their team. The Spain and Barca legend told Diario AS:
“It is something that no one likes and does not like, regardless of whether they are colleagues or friends. That your fans whistle you is not pleasant but we know that Barça is a very demanding and particular club.
“These are situations that have occurred throughout history with great players and people express what they feel at that moment. Both Busi and Geri are at Barça because they still have the ability to perform. We would all like this not to happen, but if they do it is because of the club’s level of demand.”