Barcelona evaluate their concerns for rotation ahead of Bilbao clash


Robert Lewandowski of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League match of Group C between FC Barcelona and FC Viktoria Plezen at Spotify Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on September 7th, 2022. 

FC Barcelona return to club football action as their international players return to Catalonia. The international break has finally come to an end, and Barca can consider themselves to be fortunate. No long-term injuries have been sustained during this period away from club football, leaving Barça joyous.

Up next for FC Barcelona is a clash against Athletic Bilbao at the Montjuic Stadium. The Catalan giants currently sit on third place in La Liga, behind Girona and Real Madrid. As a result, getting a favorable result against their Basque opponents will be essential.

However, there still exists the problem of the rather long injury list. As highlighted by Mundo Deportivo, Xavi will have to think of several positions in regard to rotations given that right after the Bilbao clash, Barça will then go on to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League.

Recovering stars

Players like Robert Lewandowski, Pedri, Lamine Yamal, Jules Kounde, Alejandro Balde, Frenkie De Jong, Sergi Roberto, and Raphinha are all currently injured. While Balde and Yamal did take part in a recent training session, their involvement is also uncertain.

International arrivals

Certain stars like Marc Andre Ter Stegen and Ilkay Gundogan have only just recently concluded international duty with Germany. Having played every possible minute for Germany, fatigue is understandably going to be there. Ronald Araujo has also just recently played his last match for Uruguay.

They are likely to take part in Friday’s training session but have missed out on several. Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo did, however, take part in the Thursday training session. Andreas Christensen has also resumed training under Xavi.

Defensive rotation

Given that Ronald Araujo played for Uruguay against Brazil just recently, he will likely not be at full fitness. Andreas Christensen, on the other hand, was rested in Denmark’s most recent clash against San Marino. This would mean that in terms of fitness, Inigo Martinez and Christensen may be the ones to start against Bilbao.

Midfield changes

Similar to Araujo, Ilkay Gundogan also returns possibly fatigued. This may prompt Xavi to deploy a midfield three of Gavi, Fermin Lopez, and Oriol Romeu. Furthermore, the injury to Sergi Roberto has also eliminated the possibility of having him play in the midfield for this game.

Woes in Attack

Robert Lewandowski remains injured, and Lamine Yamal has only recently resumed training with the Barcelona first team. Joao Felix and Ferran Torres will likely start, and Xavi will have to bet on Yamal being ready in time. As for their Polish ace, Barça may just have to hope he forces through in time for El Clasico.

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