Barcelona is set to return to action after the current international break with something of a bang after La Liga confirmed on Saturday a brutal run of fixtures for the Catalan giants.
Ronald Koeman’s side face a stretch of four games in the space of just nine days in the wake of a testing Champions League group stage match against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou on September 14.
Barca’s hectic schedule begins when Granada visits the Camp Nou on Monday, 20 September with kick-off scheduled for 9pm local time. The Catalans then head to Cadiz three days later for a 10pm kick-off before heading back to the Camp Nou on the Sunday to take on Levante at 4.15pm local time, as shown below.
There is no respite after that either as Barca then travels to Portugal to play Benfica in the Champions League group stages on Wednesday, 29 September.
Barca has started the season with two wins and a draw. An impressive 4-2 win over Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou was followed by a tough 1-1 draw away at Athletic and a uninspiring 2-1 win over Getafe.
Koeman’s side is scheduled to return to action after the international break on September 11 at Sevilla but it’s not clear if the game will go ahead as planned.
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Koeman Will Need To Rotate
Barcelona’s hectic schedule means Koeman will need to rotate his players, something the Dutch coach has often appeared reluctant to do during his time in charge at the Camp Nou.
The 58-year-old also has to cope with having several key players out injured. Ansu Fati is expected back in time for the match against Granada after 10 months out, but attackers Ousmane Dembele and Sergio Aguero remain on the injured list.
Barca’s injuries could be good news for new signing Luuk de Jong, who has arrived on loan from Sevilla, and youngsters Riqui and Yusuf Demir who could enjoy some rare first-team minutes. Philippe Coutinho could also get the chance to stake a claim for a place after returning from a long lay-off with a knee injury.
Barca Has ‘Total Confidence’ In Koeman
There will be plenty of scrutiny on Koeman and his team in the coming weeks with speculation suggesting the club is considering extending the Dutch coach’s contract at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta reportedly has certain conditions he wants Koeman to meet if he is to stay on. According to Mundo Deportivo, the president wants to see a more attractive playing style, a traditional 4-3-3 formation, and certain players, including Puig, handed more game time.
Koeman’s position as coach came under scrutiny at the end of last season after Barca’s title hopes faded. Laporta offered Koeman his backing over the summer but the Dutchman will surely come under pressure once again if results and performances do not improve in 2021-22.