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LALIGA

Why isn’t Robert Lewandowski playing for Barcelona against Granada in LaLiga?

The former Bayern striker has scored 39 goals in 56 games for Barça but faces a spell out with El Clásico looming.

Update:
The former Bayern striker has scored 39 goals in 56 games for Barça but faces a spell out with El Clásico looming.
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRAAFP

Barcelona may not be top of LaLiga but things are looking fairly rosy on the field, nevertheless. Xavi Hernandez’s side are unbeaten this season after 10 games in all competitions, eight of which they have won. However, draws at Getafe and Real Mallorca mean they trail bitter rivals Real Madrid in the standings and their squad depth is set to be tested over the next few weeks by the unavailability of star striker Robert Lewandowski.

Lewandowski forced off in Champions League game in Porto

The Pole scored 33 times in 46 appearances for Barça last season and has started 2023-24 with five goals in eight LaLiga matches. He also found the net in the Catalans’s first Champions League game of the season against Belgian side Antwerp, but was forced off in the first half of their second game of the competition against Porto on Wednesday.

Lewandowski was replaced by Ferran Torres in the 34th minute of the game in Portugal, although the initial signs were the blow he took to the ankle wasn’t serious and that he’d more than likely recover in time to face Granada in LaLiga.

Will the Pole be fit for El Clásico against Real Madrid?

Tests on Thursday, however, revealed he had suffered a Grade 2 sprain of his left ankle, which is normally enough to keep a player out of action for between three to four weeks. That immediately meant that he had no chance of featuring for Barcelona before the upcoming international break, with the race now on to ensure he is fit for the first Clásico of the season against Real Madrid, which will be played at Estadio Olímpico Lluís Companys in Montjuïc on Saturday 28 October.

Why aren’t Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Raphinha playing against Granada?

Losing a player of Lewandowski’s calibre is a huge blow for Xavi, not least because he is already without other key members of his roster.

Pedri hasn’t played since the second LaLiga game of the season because of a thigh issue, while fellow midfielder Frankie de Jong injured his ankle in a home win over Celta Vigo a couple of weeks ago. Brazilian winger Raphinha is also in the treatment room after pulling his hamstring in Barça’s last LaLiga game at home to Sevilla.

The international break should at least give the injured quartet time to recover from their respective ailments, although Xavi will be sweating over their fitness ahead of one of the biggest games of the season in just a few weeks’ time.