Barcelona travel to Madrid on Thursday for their Copa del Rey semi-final against Real Madrid.
Centre-back Andreas Christensen suffered a blow to his ankle during yesterday morning’s session, which forced him to leave training early. As it is only a knock, it is hoped that the anti-inflammatories will take effect and the defender will be at Xavi’s disposal for El Clásico, although it will not be known until before the game if he will finally be in the starting eleven. The dressing room and Christensen’s entourage say that he does not want to miss this game under any circumstances, and are optimistic about him playing. Marcos Alonso would likely step into the centre-back role and take his place.
Key Barcelona players Ousmane Dembélé, Pedri and Robert Lewandowski will all miss the first leg tonight. Xavi’s starting eleven at the Bernabéu will include Ter Stegen in goal. Ronald Araújo is set to play at full-back to prevent the threat coming from Vinícius down the left flank. Jules Koundé will partner Christensen or Marcos Alonso at centre-back, and Alejandro Balde will start at left-back. In midfield, the three should be Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong and Franck Kessié, with Raphinha and Gavi on the wings and Ferran Torres as the No 9. Ansu Fati, fresh from a knee injury, is expected to start the game on the bench.
Possible Barcelona XI vs Real Madrid
AS report that Barcelona will line up as follows:
Ter Stegen – Araújo, Koundé, Christensen, Balde – Busquets, De Jong, Kessié – Raphinha, Ferran Torres, Gavi.
Kieran Quaile | GSFN