Mascherano relishing Roma clash

‘Finals must be won’ most recent winners WAC Casablanca and ES Tunis ready for CAF Champions League final 1st leg

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano has predicted a tough outing against Roma in their Champions League group E opener on Wednesday night.

Defending champions Barca have been drawn alongside the Gialorossi as well as Belarusian champions BATE Borisov and German outfit Bayer Leverkusen and travel to the Stadio Olimpico on match day 1 looking to get their title defence off to the best possible start.

Mascherano has revealed the squad are relishing the chance to once again challenge for the trophy and believes taking on the Giallorossi in their first match will provide a stern test for Luis Enrique's men.

"We're really up for returning to the Champions League, a competition that's very special for us," Mascherano told UEFA's official website.

"Roma play football. This sometimes works well for us, but they're a quality side and we know they're going to play their game from the off and fight for every ball.

"They are a side with tradition and, above all, we know how hard it is to go to Italy and play.

"Tactically, they're teams that defend well and it's not easy to score against them. It will be a difficult game for us."