Barcelona set for double boost ahead of derby against RCD Espanyol
After an early season hiatus in club football, Barcelona are set to restart their campaign in the coming week as they take on Espanyol at Camp Nou.
It is a must-win encounter for the Catalans, who are leading the league table following an extraordinary start to their domestic season. However, with the majority of the players coming back from the gruelling World Cup schedule, Xavi has his work cut out as he looks to ready the troops ahead of the Espanyol clash.
According to SPORT, though, the Barcelona coach is set for a major boost as two of his key players in Ousmane Dembele and Jules Kounde are set to be available for the derby against Espanyol on December 31.
At this moment, the two Frenchmen are the only ones missing in the Barcelona camp that has already started its preparation for the season start. Xavi has been particularly strict about the training modules and has been implementing a new two-hour training session while also holding friendly matches amongst the squad.
The return of Dembele and Kounde could serve as a major boost for Barcelona. Both players were involved in the World Cup final last Sunday, starting for the French team that succumbed to a defeat at the hands of Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
There have been reports that the defeat to Argentina has left Dembele extra motivated, with the forward determined to help Barcelona win silverware during the second half of the campaign.
Kounde, too, will be hoping to prove a point after facing criticism over his performance against Angel Di Maria in the final.
The report from SPORT suggests Dembele and Kounde will return to training on Monday, December 26, and that both will be available for the game against Espanyol next weekend. However, whether or not they are risked by Xavi remains to be seen.