The Camp Nou is set to welcome Almeria tomorrow for La Liga gameweek 13 in what will definitely be game for the history books. It is, after all, Gerard Pique’s last game at the Camp Nou.
The Spaniard has announced his retirement from football yesterday, and is set to play his last two games in the next five days before calling it quits.
Barcelona, meanwhile, are coming off two consecutive wins – largely in dramatic but contrary fashion, against Valencia and Viktoria Plzen.
Robert Lewandowski scored the winner against Los Che in injury time in a one-game affair, but the Champions League fixture saw six goals being exchanged between the Catalan and Czech side.
Xavi would want his team to finish the pre-World Cup schedule in flawless fashion, and now has been boosted by the services of Eric Garcia and Andreas Christensen. Jules Kounde is still, however, injured, and will miss out on the game.
Ahead of the game, Barça Universal takes a look at the possible lineup that could be fielded by the Blaugranes.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been largely impregnable in the league, and will almost undoubtedly continue to start in goal for Barcelona tomorrow. The German will be shield by a back-four.
While Xavi was cryptic about him, we fully expect Gerard Pique to start in central defence, paired alongside Andreas Christensen. The Dane has missed the last three weeks due to injury, but should slot in seamlessly with Eric Garcia expected to start on the bench.
Xavi is spoilt for choice at left-back, with three contenders for one spot. However, we expect Jordi Alba to retain his spot. On the other side, though, Hector Bellerin is bound to be replaced, with Alejandro Balde getting the nod in that position.
Franck Kessie started at defensive midfield in the Champions League, but picked up an injury in the second half. The Ivorian is set to be sidelined for the next month or so, but is lucky that Ivory Coast is not part of the World Cup.
Sergio Busquets will take back the role he has inherited for the last decade and a half, with compatriot Pedri starting as one of the advanced interiors. After being rested in Plzen, Frenkie de Jong should return to the midfield as a box-to-box midfield.
In attack, we are likely to see Robert Lewandowski start as the centre-forward again after being completely dropped from the UCL travelling team. The Pole will feature as part of the trident, which will feature a fair few changes.
Ferran Torres has been in excellent form in the last few games, scoring four goals in the last six games. He should get the nod at left-wing, with Ousmane Dembele returning to the team on the right side.
Torres · Lewandowski · Dembele
Pedri · Busquets · de Jong
Alba · Pique · Christensen · Balde
Ansu Fati has been in underwhelming form for a while now, but will and should continue to get minutes ahead of the World Cup. The Spaniard will accompany Raphinha as two of the attackers coming off-the-bench.
Gavi started and played the entire 90 minutes against Viktoria and will likely get some minutes as a substitute. Pablo Torre is another midfielder in contention to make a change in the centre of the park after his first goal for Barça in the UCL.
If Eric Garcia does indeed start from the bench, we expect him to return to the pitch as a substitute.