Gerard Pique is fit and available to represent Barcelona against Galatasaray in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 second leg on Thursday.

Barcelona will aim to seal a safe passage through to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals when they lock horns with Galatasaray at Nef Stadyumu in the Round of 16 second leg on Thursday night. And Xavi Hernandez does not have any newroster issues to contend with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.

There is some good news in store, too, as Gerard Pique is fit and available after recovering from the knock he sustained in the league game against Osasuna last weekend. Pique’s availability leaves Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti as the only players on the sidelines due to injury. At the same time, Dani Alves misses out due to his ineligibility in the UEFA Europa League.

During his pre-match press conference, Xavi did not provide a team news update, but he spoke about possible rotations ahead of the long-awaited El Clasico this coming weekend. The Barcelona manager also heaped praise on Sergio Busquets, who is enjoying a resurgence under him.

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“In the first leg, I decided to rotate because there were players who needed a break. We have to define a specific plan for the players who will participate tomorrow in order to prepare for the El Clasico. Busquets is still essential for us. I’ve always said it and I still stand by it. He brings a lot of quality and is a key player for us.”

Xavi might rest Pique despite his availability, keeping one eye on the upcoming El Clasico. Ronald Araujo will replace the veteran defender as Eric Garcia’s central defensive partner. With Alves ineligible in the Europa League, Dest is a certain starter at right-back, while Jordi Alba picks himself on the left flank. Marc-Andre ter Stegen is an automatic pick in the Barcelona goal.

Up ahead in midfield, Busquets should sit at the base of the three-man unit, with Gavi expected to retain his spot after a superb performance against Osasuna. That means Pedri will likely drop out of the starting lineup, with Frenkie de Jong taking his place in the middle of the park.

As for the attacking unit, Xavi has nearly all his resources at his disposal. But he should persist with the trio that delivered the goods versus Osasuna. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will thus spearhead the Barcelona attack against Galatasaray, with Ousmane Dembele and Ferran Torres being the two wide men. Adama Traore, Luuk de Jong and Memphis Depay will be backup options on the bench.

Predicted Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Garcia, Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Busquets, Gavi; Dembele, Aubameyang, Torres

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