Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal will return while Antoine Griezmann will drop to the bench when Barcelona face Bayern Munich on Friday.
Barcelona will be looking to book their place in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals when they lock horns with Bayern Munich in the single-legged quarter-final at Estadio da Luz on Friday. And, Quique Setien has been handed a major boost ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The first piece of good news is that Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal are available after serving their suspensions against Napoli. The duo are expected to return to the starting lineup, albeit in a different setup to what they are usually accustomed to.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 13, 2020
There have been suggestions that Setien will employ a 4-4-2 formation in order to crowd the midfield and contain the Bayern Munich attack. During his pre-match press conference (h/t Barca Blaugranes), the Barcelona manager was quizzed on the same prospect as well, although he gave little away.
“We have considered many things, but we will not see it until tomorrow. We may think that the formation is important, but perhaps it is not so important. We know the talent and speed they have. They’re a special attacking side and when they have the ball we’ll have no option but to defend. It’ll be better for us to keep the ball and try to hurt them in the best way possible.”
Barcelona should indeed line up in a 4-4-2 formation, with Busquets and Vidal pairing up in the central areas of the midfield quartet. The two returning players will be flanked by Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto, meaning Ivan Rakitic drops to the bench.
In defence, there are expected to be no changes. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet have struck up a fine partnership at the heart of the defence and should continue their tandem. Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo will once again be the full-backs, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen guarding the Barcelona goal.
As far as attack is concerned, Setien has been boosted by the return of Ousmane Dembele. The injury-riddled Frenchman has completed his recovery from a hamstring injury and has received the all clear to return to action. Dembele will, therefore, be in contention to feature against Bayern Munich and the Barcelona boss was quizzed on his prospects.
“I think everyone will be pleased he’s able to be here and be in the squad. Obviously he’s going to be able to play and might be able to play a few minutes if the opportunity arises. It’s been nearly a year without being able to participate, but we have the possibility of him playing a few minutes and doing well.”
Dembele, though, is unlikely to start against Bayern, with compatriot Antoine Griezmann expected to provide him company on the bench. Luis Suarez will instead be preferred to Griezmann in the strike partnership alongside Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Vidal, Busquets, de Jong; Messi, Suarez