Ousmane Dembele is expected to be fit for the final stages of the 2019-20 Champions League should Barcelona make it that far.
According to Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden at ESPN, manager Quique Setien “hopes to recover” Dembele for the latter stages of the tournament which are due to be played in Portugal from August 12-23.
Barcelona first have to beat Napoli in the second leg of their last-16 tie on August 8 at the Camp Nou. ESPN report that Dembele will miss that game because it is considered “too risky” for him to feature against the Serie A side.
The French forward returned to team training on Monday and is closing in on a return to action after a long lay-off due to injury. He tore a hamstring in February in training that required surgery and saw him ruled out for six months.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 28, 2020
Dembele has not featured for Barcelona since their 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the group stages of the Champions League back in November.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Dembele to Face Bayern Munich?
Barcelona must beat Napoli to secure their place in the quarter-finals. The tie is level at 1-1 after the first leg in Italy. Antoine Griezmann’s away goal has given Barca the slight edge, while home advantage in the second leg may also favor the Catalan giants.
If Barcelona do get past Gennaro Gattuso’s side they are likely to play German champions Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals. Hansi Flick’s men are 3-0 up on Chelsea after the first leg in London, and it would be a huge shock now if they failed to progress.
The Bundesliga side will come into the game full of confidence after securing a domestic double in 2019-20. The game will also see Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho come up against his parent club.
Barcelona’s Injury Problems Easing
News that Dembele is closing in on full fitness means that Barcelona’s injury problems are beginning to ease. French duo Antoine Griezmann and Clement Lenglet are also expected to be fit for the Napoli tie, although defenders Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo may miss out.
The return of Barcelona’s French contingent will be a big boost to their hopes of lifting the European Cup this season. Lenglet has formed a good partnership with Gerard Pique in central defence and will be needed with Umtiti and Araujo struggling for fitness.
Griezmann may not have enjoyed a spectacular first season at Barcelona but has still netted 15 times and has plenty of big-game experience. Meanwhile, Dembele can offer Setien another dimension in attack and will be desperate to make an impact after another injury-ravaged campaign.