Barcelona prepare for La Liga return in away game to Mallorca

Madrid, June 12 (IANS) FC Barcelona return to action on Saturday night when the La Liga leaders travel to play relegation-threatened Mallorca in an empty Son Moix Stadium.

Barca will be at almost full strength as they prepare to make the short trip to Mallorca. The enforced lay-off due to the coronavirus has allowed Luis Suarez to recover from the knee operation he had in January, while Antoine Griezmann commented earlier in the week that the break had granted him the physical and mental rest he hadn't been able to enjoy in the last five years, reports Xinhua news agency.

The problems for Barca coach Quique Setien are the suspension to central defender Clement Lenglet, which is carried over from Barca's last game before the lay-off, and a question over Samuel Umtiti, who would be his natural replacement in central defense.

Winger Ousmane Dembele is still missing while youngster Ansu Fati has worked in the gym because of injury and probably won't travel.

Nelson Semedo will be able to form part of the expedition to Mallorca after testing negative for COVID-19 after being filmed breaking lockdown protocols at a birthday celebration earlier in the week.

Lionel Messi will start, although with games every three days, Setien will be anxious to protect his star player, who did suffer some muscle problems a few days ago, while Suarez will probably be eased back into action.

The lack of match fitness should favor Barca's style of play over Mallorca's work-rate and organization, but after three months without a game and no practice games to ease into the return, there might be a question mark if Barca will be able to switch on their passing game.



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