Barcelona will be without the suspended duo of Neymar and Ivan Rakitic as they host Borussia Monchengladbach in their final group stage fixture of the UEFA Champions League.
Jeremy Mathieu remains the only player sidelined due to injury for Tuesday’s fixture, while Neymar and Ivan Rakitic are set to miss the match due to suspension. The match is perhaps a dead rubber of sorts, with Barcelona already securing the first place in the group. Thus, the manager may want to give the youngsters and players a chance to shine.
Luis Enrique might hand goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen a rest and start Jasper Cillessen in his stead. Elsewhere, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne are likely to be handed starts in the defence while Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez could come into the starting eleven in the middle of the pitch.
All eyes will be on whether Luis Enrique chooses to rest star striker Luis Suarez in favour of someone like Paco Alcacer. The summer signing is yet to put in a noteworthy performance since joining the La Liga champions from Valencia.
The boss said in the pre-match conference that he doesn’t care much about a win, now that they have secured the top spot. But he recognises the need to win a game for the players’ morale and the fans.
Enrique confirmed that Lionel Messi shall start the match while he was coy on the question of a potential rotation on the cards.
“Yes, Messi will play from the start. We can change the system, rest players that have played a lot, some that aren’t 100 percent… there are a lot of options. The objective is to win, but there’s a general plan for the team which we want to achieve,” said the boss, as quoted by ESPN.
The visiting side has a host of injury issues to take care of. Alvaro Dominguez, Mamadou Doucoure and Patrick Herrmann are all sidelined due to injuries while Lars Stindl is suspended for the game with Andre Hahn most likely to take the captain’s spot. Marvin Schulz and Ibrahima Traore are doubts for the game.