Pedri will return, while Gerard Pique and Sergino Dest will be in contention to feature when Barcelona and Eintracht Frankfurt face off on Thursday.
Barcelona will aim to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals when they play hosts to Eintracht Frankfurt at Camp Nou in the quarter-final second leg on Thursday night. And Xavi Hernandez has been handed a major boost on the team news front ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The good news is that Sergino Dest and Memphis Depay are fit and available after recovering from their respective fitness issues. In addition, Gerard Pique could be in contention to feature against Eintracht Frankfurt, with Xavi picking him in the matchday squad.
But the veteran Barcelona defender comes with an asterisk next to his name, as he has not been declared fully fit. Samuel Umtiti (foot), Sergi Roberto (knee), and Ansu Fati (match fitness) remain on the sidelines, while Dani Alves is ineligible to play in the Europa League. Xavi spoke about Pique during his pre-match press conference.
The Barcelona boss said, “Pique’s participation will depend on his recovery. He is a competitive player, tomorrow we will assess his participation.”
Xavi also confirmed Dest and Depay’s availability, saying, “He is on the squad list, and definitely has a chance to start. Same for Memphis. It is important that we are starting to get players back, though. Dest is an important player for us, for his ability to play on the right and even the left.”
While Dest should ideally start in the right-back slot in Alves’s absence, the USMNT international will have to suffice with a spot on the bench, with Ronald Araujo in line to get the nod there. Pique should start if fit enough, with Clement Lenglet the fallback option to pair up with Eric Garcia at the heart of the Barcelona defence.
Jordi Alba picks himself in the left-back berth, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen is an automatic pick in the Barcelona goal. Up ahead in midfield, Xavi should prefer his strongest trio of Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and captain Sergio Busquets, meaning Gavi and Nico Gonzalez will be backup options on the bench.
As for the attacking unit, Xavi had an update on Fati, with the Barcelona manager asserting that the Spanish prodigy will ease back into the action. Xavi said, “We will not pressure him to return. Everything depends on his feelings, but it is good to see him train with the team. He is close to returning to full team participation. We will not set a specific time or match for Ansu’s return. Everything depends on his readiness.”
In Fati’s continued absence, Ferran Torres will continue on the left flank, while Ousmane Dembele is a certain starter on the right wing. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will spearhead the Barcelona attack against Eintracht Frankfurt, with Luuk de Jong and Adama Traore possibly being impact substitutes.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Araujo, Garcia, Lenglet, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Frenkie de Jong; Dembele, Aubameyang, Torres