Rejoice, the international break is finally over.
Barcelona are back in action tomorrow as they travel to Palma for Gameweek 7 of La Liga. Awaiting them will be RCD Mallorca, sitting 10th in the table with two wins, two draws, and two losses.
Meanwhile, things have been rather smooth for Barça, who have the best offensive and defensive record in the league so far. They have won five of their six games, scoring a whopping 18 goals, while letting in just one.
That said, though, it is important to note that Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo have been key to their spectacular defence this season. Both of them are injured, with the former out until El Clasico, and the latter expected to be seen only after the World Cup.
Memphis Depay is injured as well, while Frenkie de Jong has not received the medical green light, either. Hector Bellerin picked up a knock in training and is out for a few weeks, too.
In light of so many injuries, we will see several changes in the starting lineup, a hypothetical version of which is brought to you by Barça Universal.
While other positions are still sketchy, we do know Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start in goal for the Blaugranes. The German has been in exceptional form this season and will hope to build on the same tomorrow night.
Sergi Roberto will likely be a part of the travelling squad, but the Spaniard is just coming off an injury. As such, we expect him to start from the bench and get some minutes in the second half of the game ahead of the Champions League clash on Tuesday.
Eric Garcia should start as Barcelona’s right-back tomorrow night. He has had trouble defending a large area of the pitch while isolated, but his comfort on the ball, coupled with his athleticism make him the natural pick for that position.
On the other side, we will likely see Marcos Alonso start as the left-back. The Spanish international is the only Barcelona left-back who was not on international duty the previous week and should get the nod ahead of Alejandro Balde and Jordi Alba.
Quite obviously, Andreas Christensen and Gerard Pique are default choices in central defence. The former has been very reliable through the season so far, but minutes have been far and few in between for the latter.
Pedri and Gavi were largely flawless playing for Spain during the break. They are both, Xavi’s and Luis Enrique’s go-to midfield duo, but only Pedri is expected to start tomorrow.
Gavi, at 18, should not compete week in week out, and Xavi understands that better than anyone. As such, Franck Kessie is expected to replace him in the centre of the park.
The last piece of the puzzle, without any doubt, will be Sergio Busquets.
Ousmane Dembele picked up a minor knock playing for France vs Austria. However, he has been included in the squad list for the game and is expected to start tomorrow.
He will enjoy the company of none other than man-in-form, Robert Lewandowski. The Pole has been unplayable for the most part this season and will look to add to his eight goals in La Liga.
The lineup is rounded off by Ansu Fati. The teenager looks in sync with Lewandowski each time the two hit the pitch together.
Ansu Fati · Lewandowski · Dembele
Pedri · Busquets · Kessie
Alonso · Pique · Christensen · Garcia
In the event Gavi does indeed start on the bench, he will definitely get time to impact the match.
With Memphis Depay injured and Ferran Torres out of form, Raphinha’s minutes have become extremely valuable. The Brazilian should come on for one of the wingers tomorrow.
Roberto’s minutes, likely in the second half, will be valuable, in preparation for the game against Inter. Balde and Torres could be given minutes, too, but likely in the final quarter of the game