Barcelona face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in a difficult away trip to San Mames, and will be hoping to continue their winning streak after thrashing Real Betis 6-2 in their La Liga curtain raiser. However, new signing Jasper Cillessen and veteran midfielder Andres Iniesta will both miss out on the game.
Iniesta suffered a bruised knee during Barcelona’s 2-0 Spanish Super Cup win against Sevilla, and the match against Athletic Bilbao will come too early for him. The 32-year-old Spaniard is joined by 32-year-old French defender Jeremy Mathieu, with both of them not named in the squad to face Bilbao.
Two other prominent members will be missing from the trip to Bilbao. Neymar is still recovering from his exertions for Brazil at the Rio Olympics, while new signing Jasper Cillessen is still getting used to the feel of the Camp Nou after arriving from Ajax for €13 million earlier this week.
However, Barcelona will not be worried too much about the players missing. They have been boosted by the return from injury of goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and defender Javier Mascherano, while their marquee signing of the summer, Andre Gomes, is ready to play after serving out a suspension in the Blaugrana’s first game of the season.
Denis Suarez impressed in the game against Betis, and the former Villarreal midfielder could start once again for the Blaugrana this time around. He will join Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets in the midfield, while Luis Suarez once again leads the attack.
The Uruguayan forward will be flanked by his usual partner-in-crime Lionel Messi, while Arda Turan is expected to fill in for Neymar. Mascherano and Gerard Pique are most likely to start in central defence, flanked by either Jordi Alba or Lucas Digne at left-back, and the versatile Sergi Roberto at right-back.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will play in goal, and hope to cement his place as the undisputed first-choice after erstwhile La Liga number one Claudio Bravo left for Manchester City earlier this week.