Barcelona Duo Winning Champions League Fitness Race

Barcelona training


Barcelona look set to have France internationals Antoine Griezmann and Clement Lenglet fit for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Napoli on August 8.

Griezmann has been out since suffering a quadriceps injury against Real Valladolid, while Lenglet picked up a groin problem in Barcelona’s final game of the season at Alaves.

Barcelona confirmed the two players were back at the training ground on Monday “albeit in isolation from the rest of the group.” However, they will both be fit for the visit of Napoli, according to journalist Javi Miguel.

Lenglet’s return will be particularly welcomed as Barcelona are short of options in defence. Samuel Umtiti is currently out with a knee injury, while youngster Ronald Araujo suffered a sprained ankle on Sunday.

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Barca Short of Options For Napoli

Barcelona will be desperate for success against Napoli after losing their league title to Real Madrid but are short of options for the clash, particularly in midfield.

Midfielder Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal are both suspended, while Brazilian Arthur is refusing to play for the club again, ahead of a move to Juventus, and wants to rescind his contract, according to Sport’s David Salinas.

Ousmane Dembele also remains doubtful for the game. The forward has also returned to training this week after a lengthy lay-off, but it’s not yet clear if he will be able to play any part in the game.

Napoli Told to Improve

Meanwhile, Napoli have also encountered difficulties ahead of the game. Gennaro Gattuso’s side were beaten 2-0 by Inter on Tuesday, prompting their manager to call for an improvement after the game.

“Barcelona are a completely different team, as Inter are very physical and aggressive, whereas Barca pass it around much better. We’ve got to work on ourselves, because we are creating the chances, but we lack soul.

“We conceded two goals that were avoidable and didn’t finish off the chances we created, that comes from a lack of soul. We had it, we’ve lost it lately and need to get it back.”

Barcelona and Napoli drew the first leg of their tie 1-1 at the Stadio San Paolo back in February. Dries Mertens’ opening goal was canceled out by Griezmann’s equalizer in the second half.

The Catalan giants will be slight favorites going into the match but will face a tough test from Gattuso’s side and will want to have their injured stars back for the clash.

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