Barcelona

Catalan derby kick-starts critical month for Barcelona

Catalan derby kick-starts critical month for Barcelona

David Ramos

DIARIO AS

The Catalan side are in action eight times during April with key LaLiga and Champions League games key in shaping the season for Ernesto Valverde's men.

April is set to be hugely testing month for Barça as players return from the international break with Ernesto Valverde's side in action eight times in both LaLiga and the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League.

Ahead of the demanding month, the always tense Catalan derby precedes with Camp Nou hosting the clash between Culés and Pericos (Espanyol fans) on Saturday with a 16:15 (CET) start.

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona

The first of two LaLiga mid-week rounds of April action see Barça face Villarreal away on Tuesday April 2nd ahead of the visit from Atlético Madrid to Camp Nou on April 6 in a game that could tilt the title definitively towards the Catalan outfit as first face the currently second placed side in LaLiga. 

Champions League action

The focus immediately turns to European competition as Manchester United away is next on the list for Barcelona. Memories of falling in Rome last year will be fresh in the mind of the first team squad as they look to stake a berth in the semi-final for the first time since 2015.

1127819491BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 06: Fans wa past the main access to the stadium prior to the Copa del Semi Final first leg match between Barcelona and Real Madrid at Nou Camp on February 06, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Sandwiched in-between the home and away (April 10th and 16th) UCL ties is a league contest against relegation threatened Huesca with Valverde expected to rotate his squad heavily for the trip to Aragon.

The April marathon comes to a conclusion with three LaLiga ties with Real Sociedad visiting Camp Nou on April 21st ahead of a trip to Vitoria for Alaves away in midweek. 

The final weekend of the month sees the April marathon come to a conclusion at home with Barça facing Levante and draws to an end a "Everest" of a month that could make or break the season for the Catalan giants.