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UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Barcelona injury update before Shakhtar and El Clásico: Lewandowski, Pedri, de Jong, Koundé…

Xavi Hernández again has serious injury issues to contend with, with the LaLiga game against Real Madrid just days away.

Update:
Xavi Hernández again has serious injury issues to contend with, with the LaLiga game against Real Madrid just days away.
Enric FontcubertaDiarioAS

Bad news for Xavi Hernández ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. The Barcelona head coach won’t be able to welcome back any players who have been suffering with recent injuries and, on top of that, will also be unable to call upon Gavi due to suspension.

How many first-team players are available for Barcelona?

As a result, there are only 12 first-team players available to face the Ukrainians, which means he will once again be forced to fill up his matchday squad with players from the reserve and youth teams. Not that it worked out too badly in Sunday’s LaLiga game against Athletic Club, with teenage striker Marc Guiu scoring the winning goal just a matter of seconds after coming on as a substitute.

Which injured Barça players could return for El Clásico?

Xavi will still be without Pedri, Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, who it is hoped will be available to feature in El Clásico against Real Madrid on Saturday. Whether they will be anywhere near 100% fit, however, is another matter entirely.

Which players won’t face Real Madrid?

Frenkie de Jong, Jules Koundé and Sergi Roberto are also absent and have already been ruled out of the clash against Los Blancos.

Champions League redemption

In any case, Barça’s main concern for now is Shakhtar and the Champions League, a competition in which they have failed to get past the group stage in each of the last two seasons. A win on Wednesday, though, would be their third in a row and put them on the brink of a place in the knockout stages with three matches still to play.

The 12 first-team players available for the game are goalkeepers Marc-André Ter Stegen and Iñaki Peña, João Cancelo, Ronald Araújo, Andreas Christensen, Íñigo Martínez, Marcos Alonso, Alejandro Balde, Oriol Romeu, Ilkay Gündogan, João Félix and Ferran Torres. Youngsters Fermín López and Lamine Yamal have featured heavily in the first team so far this season and are likely to be given starting roles once more given Barça’s spate of injuries.