The Champions League is back. As are the goosebumps that accompany it. This is serious. Lifting the trophy again is Barcelona's dream; it's an obsession for Barcelonismo, knocked by the failures in Rome and Liverpool, but also excited at the idea of finally getting back on top in Europe. There's no better place to start than Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park. A debut of the highest order.
It's crazy to think that only four years have already passed since Xavi Hernandez lifted the trophy in Berlin. The sensation is that June 6, 2015, was much longer ago. That's because the hammerings suffered at the Olimpico and Anfield were tough to take. Barça have choked on the same stone twice and they cannot allow it to happen for a third time. It's time to prove they have learned from their mistakes.
Messi & Ansu
To correct their errors, Barça have added two quality additions in the form of Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann. They bring fresh air. There are also some unexpected guests: Ansu Fati, along with Carles Perez, has come up from the academy and they both add a touch of Blaugrana DNA.
In his interview with SPORT, Messi spoke about needing a winning project and recognised: "Obviously I would love to win the Champions League." The captain needs to be paid attention to. He will not start in Dortmund on Tuesday but he has traveled to Germany and his presence alone inspires respect. If he gets some minutes, even better.
The road towards a sixth Champion League trophy starts in Dortmund. Barça weren't lucky in the draw, ending up in the group of death, with Inter Milan and Slavia Prague to come. But these are the games they want to play and getting off to a good start is key to fuelling the dream.