Antoine Griezmann is in line to return while Miralem Pjanic will replace Sergio Busquets when Barcelona take on Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.
Barcelona will be eager to extend their six-game unbeaten run when they lock horns with Athletic Bilbao at San Mames on Wednesday night. And, Ronald Koeman does not have any fresh injury issues to contend with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
In fact, the Barcelona manager has received a boost on the team news front, with Samuel Umtiti, who has recently been linked with a return to Ligue 1, rejoining training. The Frenchman, though, is unlikely to start, with Ronald Araujo and Clement Lenglet firmly ahead of him in the pecking order.
Meanwhile, the likes of Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati all remain unavailable and are excluded from the travelling squad to take on Athletic Bilbao. The absence of the quartet, though, has so far been mitigated by Koeman.
With Pique still unavailable, Araujo will partner Lenglet at the heart of the Barcelona defence, while Sergino Dest is an automatic pick in the right-back berth owing to the unavailability of Roberto. On the opposite flank, there is no looking past Jordi Alba, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen picks himself in the Barcelona goal.
Meanwhile, Koeman did not speak much about the team news updates but did give his support to Dest during his pre-match press conference. The Barcelona boss said, “Dest has ups and downs during matches, he started very well for us but he is 19 years old and needs time to adapt. Like any footballer, he has the right to make mistakes and then improve from them.”
In midfield, there is likely to be one change, with Miralem Pjanic coming in for Sergio Busquets. The Bosnian international will be stationed at the base of the three-man midfield, with Frenkie de Jong and Pedri expected to keep hold of their spots in the middle of the park.
Finally, in attack, captain Lionel Messi remains an automatic pick as ever. Ousmane Dembele should also start once again, having impressed last time out versus Huesca. As for the final spot, Antoine Griezmann should replace Martin Braithwaite to lead the line for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Pedri, Pjanic, de Jong; Messi, Griezmann, Dembele