Luis Enrique has been handed a huge boost and more options, with the return of some key players to first team training.
As per Barcelona’s official site, Andres Iniesta, Lucas Digne and Sergio Busquets returned to training and are available for selection in today’s tie. This comes as a timely boost for Luis Enrique as he looks to rotate his squad to keep them functioning at optimum levels.
However, it is yet to be seen whether Enrique chooses to rush their return for the sake of the match given that they each have only one training session under their belt since making their return from their respective spells on the sidelines.
Ter Stegen will likely come back into the squad in place of Jasper Cillessen. The defence will likely remain unchanged, but Javier Mascherano might feature in place of Umtiti or Pique in order to rest either one of the duo, but Digne starting this match is unlikely.
Aleix Vidal, who last started their game against Real Betis and has impressed every time he has been on the pitch, may return to the starting XI for this tie in place of Sergi Roberto, to tackle the threat of Athletic Club’s wing attack.
Mascherano started in defensive midfield in Busquets’ absence against Atletico Madrid, whilst Andre Gomes and Ivan Rakitic made up the rest of Barcelona’s midfield trio. With Iniesta and Busquets back, it is likely that one or two of them will be sacrificed to make way for the duo.
However, if Busquets and Iniesta are not deemed fit enough to start and Enrique absolutely has to make changes to his midfield, then youngsters Rafinha and Denis Suarez may all find themselves walking out onto the Nou Camp turf as a part of the starting XI.
Neymar might be rested by Enrique and Arda Turan brought in for the sake of rotation. The Brazilian has been going through a difficult time in front of goal and enrique might feel that the 24-year-old might be due a break. The remainder of rht front three will be occupied by Messi and Suarez, who have been in scintillating form this season.