Robert Lewandowski and Frenkie de Jong will start when Barcelona and Real Sociedad face off at Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday.
Barcelona will look to seal a safe passage through to the Copa del Rey semi-finals when they welcome Real Sociedad to Spotify Camp Nou on Wednesday night. And Xavi Hernandez has a full-strength squad at his disposal ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The Barcelona boss had been sweating over the fitness of Andreas Christensen, who sustained a knock against Getafe. But the Danish defender is fit and a part of the squad to take on Real Sociedad this week.
The journalists present at Xavi’s pre-match press conference did not question him on Christensen’s fitness. But the manager answered questions about team composition and the fitness of Frenkie de Jong and Ronald Araujo.
On how he will line his team up against Real Sociedad, Xavi said, “We will decide tomorrow. We have been training normally and I don’t want to give any clues to my players either. I don’t like to move forward.”
On the fitness of de Jong and Araujo, Xavi said, “They are all fine, 100 percent. Luckily for the team and unfortunately for me, I have to leave 12 or 13 players out of the eleven. I’m sorry, but it’s a luxury to have all the players.”
With de Jong supposedly fit, the Dutchman should return to the starting lineup. And Gavi will likely drop to the bench, with de Jong joining Pedri and Sergio Busquets in the middle of the park. So Gavi and Franck Kessie will be the backup midfield options.
Xavi named second-string lineups in the two Copa del Rey games thus far. But the opposition’s stature means the Barcelona manager will name his first-choice unit on Wednesday. So Marc-Andre ter Stegen will retain his spot between the sticks.
While Christensen is fit and available, Eric Garcia might start at the heart of the Barcelona defence. And the Spanish international will join Araujo in the central defensive partnership, with Jules Kounde and Jordi Alba starting as the full-backs.
Robert Lewandowski is available after serving the second of his three-match ban on Sunday. With his suspension not carrying over to the Copa del Rey, the Polish striker will spearhead the Barcelona attack. Finally, Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele should start as the two wide attackers.
Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Garcia, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, de Jong; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Dembele