Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Porto could not have come at a better time. For a team in jeopardy and a manager under pressure, the comeback victory after going down early in the game comes as a massive confidence booster.
The Catalans’ next two games are, however, equally pivotal for the team’s aspirations. With Atletico Madrid and Girona their two next oppositions, any slip-up could cost Barcelona heavily in their bid to defend their league title.
One missing piece
Xavi Hernandez has an almost fully fit squad at his disposal for the weekend’s clash against Atletico Madrid. Apart from the long-term injured Gavi, only Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a doubt for the gargantuan clash.
According to SPORT, the German is doing his level best to make it back in time to take on Diego Simeone’s side. Yet, his participation on the night is under a cloud of doubt.
Ter Stegen is testing and evaluating his body every day to check the status of his lower back pain. The possibility of taking painkillers has been mentioned, but it is clear that no party wishes to aggravate the injury and add salt to the wound.
The German shot-stopper and club captain arrived to train at the club facilities for the morning session today which was voluntary.
His participation on Sunday night will be based on his sensations in the coming days.
Not as worrying as it seemed
At first, Ter Stegen’s injury appeared to be terrible news for Barelona’s management. After all, Inaki Pena still lacked the experience of playing regularly at the highest level and was the coach’s only direct replacement.
The Barcelona youngster’s performance in recent games, however, has calmed the management down.
Pena has stepped up to the occasion and delivered strong performances between the sticks, and his display against Porto was truly spectacular. Needless to say, Xavi is not worried even if forced to deploy the La Masia graduate against Atletico Madrid.