Ernesto Valverde will be without Jordi Alba, who injured his hamstring in training as he prepares his Barcelona side for Olympiacos in the Champions League.
The fixture is set to be a special one for Ernesto Valverde as he gears up to face his former side Olympiacos. However, his hopes of a triumph have been jolted to an extent, with Jordi Alba suffering a hamstring injury in training, which sees the Spaniard being left out of the squad for the UEFA Champions League fixture.
Alba joins Ousmane Dembele, Rafinha and Arda Turan on the casualty list. Also, the manager has chosen to leave Thomas Vermaelen and Aleix Vidal out of the squad as well. While the former does not come much of a surprise, Vidal’s exclusion seems to be more of a rest for the weekend than anything else.
Talking of the significance of the two group games against Olympiacos – a side he managed twice with much success – Valverde highlighted in the pre-match conference, the soft spot the club and its fans have in his heart and that the fixture will sure be a tough test for him.
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“These will be two special games for me, and especially the game over there because it’s a magical place for me. The team has changed a lot but it’s still Olympiacos, a team where I won a lot of titles, although what really matter to me are the people I got to know there.”
Valverde also hinted at some possible rotation to the lineup that faced Atletico Madrid over the weekend, suggesting the effects of international break and the Atletico game might just force him to change a few players.
“It is an important game for us, but the Malaga one is too. So we’ll use the players that are essential to win it. I agree that the players were very tired after the Atlético game because they’d just got back from a very intensive international break.”
With Alba injured, Lucas Digne is set to start the match against Olympiacos and he will be looking to impress Valverde with his display at the Nou Camp on Wednesday. Denis Suarez is another player who is in contention to start but only if Valverde opts to rest any of the midfielders.