Barcelona have been handed a much-needed fitness boost with forwards Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele both making significant progress in their recovery from long-term injuries.
Fati was able to complete a full training session on Wednesday with the Barcelona squad for the first time since getting back to work at the Ciutat Esportiva after knee sugery, as reported by Catalunya Radio.
The “sensations” around the 18-year-old are also described as being “good” and it “is not ruled out” that Fati could be called into the matchday squad for Barcelona’s next fixture against Granada in La Liga on Monday, September 20.
Dembele has also taken a step forward in his recovery. The Frenchman is on the comeback trail after undergoing knee surgery in June and has been pictured working hard in training.
According to Jordi Batalla at Mundo Deportivo, Dembele is already working with the ball which is a sign the Frenchman is “evolving well.” Initial forecasts have suggested Dembele could return in mid-October but Barca will not rush the forward.
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Koeman Keen For Injured Stars To Return
Coach Ronald Koeman made it clear he can’t wait for his injured stars to return after seeing his side comfortably beaten by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. The Dutchman was without Dembele, Fati, Sergio Aguero, and Martin Braithwaite for the game because of injury.
The Barcelona boss fielded Memphis Depay and new signing Luuk de Jong in attack against Bayern but saw his fail to manage a shot on target in the entire 90 minutes, as highlighted by Opta.
Koeman spoke after the game about how he only had “three strikers available” and that patience would be required until some of his attackers returned to action, as reported by Marca.
“We have many young players who in two or three years will be better. It is very difficult to accept it, but we have to wait for things to improve and players to recover from their injuries,” he said. “It is what it is, we have to spend a few weeks like this because later we are going to get players like [Sergio] Aguero, [Ousmane] Dembele and Ansu Fati back.”
Coutinho Returns But Pedri Ruled Out
Koeman was able to use Philippe Coutinho against Bayern, as the Brazilian came off the bench to make his first appearance for Barcelona for 259 days after a lengthy spell out with a knee injury.
Coutinho’s return will be welcomed by Koeman but it wasn’t all good news as Barca also confirmed after the match that Pedri and Jordi Alba had picked up injuries and are now sidelined.
The injuries come at a bad time with Koeman under scrutiny after a poor performance against Bayern. The Catalan giants are also facing a busy run of fixtures at home and in Europe.
Barca play three games in seven days in La Liga, against Granada, Cadiz, and Levante, and then head to Portugal on Wednesday, September 29 to take on Benfica in the Champions League.