Barcelona confirmed on Tuesday that Ousmane Dembele has been passed fit after recovering from a hamstring injury and is in the squad for the clash against Eibar in La Liga.
Dembele has been out of action since the start of December when he picked up the problem after coming on as a substitute in the defeat to Cadiz.
Coach Ronald Koeman must now decide whether to start Dembele in what is Barca’s final fixture of 2020. The Frenchman has made 12 appearances so far in 2020-21 but only half of those have come as a starter.
The Barca boss will need to make changes to his side for the visit of Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side. Left-back Jordi Alba misses out through suspension, while captain Lionel Messi is out with an ankle problem.
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Barcelona Squad to Face Eibar
Koeman is also still without injured trio Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, and Ansu Fati for the match but has named a 21-man squad for Tuesday’s game.
Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann were benched last time out against Real Valladolid but will be hoping for a recall to the starting XI. Martin Braithwaite and Francisco Trincao are also options in attack.
Junior Firpo looks set to take over from the suspended Alba in defense. The 24-year-old has yet to make a single La Liga start for Barca so far this season but has featured as a substitute against Osasuna and Real Valladolid.
It’s a rare chance for Junior to impress ahead of the January transfer window. The defender has been linked with a Camp Nou exit for some time after failing to make an impact at the club since his move from Real Betis in the summer of 2019.
Barca have already received offers to take the youngster on loan when the transfer window opens, according to Roger Torello at Mundo Deportivo.
Eibar Boss Happy Messi is Missing
Eibar boss Jose Luis Mendilibar told a pre-match press conference it was “good news” for his side that captain Messi is missing for the match. The Argentine scored four times in a 5-0 win for Barcelona over Eibar in February, but Mendilibar thinks Barca will still be a threat without their captain.
It’s good news because he is the best player in the world. [But this could lead to] other players having more freedom and playing more as a team.
It may be the most average Barcelona in recent years, but in the last game they played very well. They moved the ball at speed and won easily, created many chances and hardly conceded [any chances]. They played with three central defenders and two wing-backs on the outside, with a lot of speed and they did a lot of damage.
Barcelona certainly put in a much-improved showing against Real Valladolid last time out and a similar performance will be expected on Tuesday. Koeman may be without Messi for the match but still has a squad packed full of quality.