Barcelona reportedly expect injured duo Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Philippe Coutinho to return to action shortly after knee injuries. The two players are yet to feature this season and will not play against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday either.
However, Barca should be able to call on both players for Barca’s third outing of the new La Liga campaign against Getafe at the Camp Nou on August 29, according to Catalunya Radio.
Ter Stegen has been out of action since May when he announced on social media he would undergo a procedure on his right knee that would rule him out of Barca’s final game of the 2020-21 campaign and Euro 2020.
The German has been back in training and looks set to replace Neto once back to full fitness. The Brazilian has featured for Barca in pre-season and played in Sunday’s opening La Liga game against Real Sociedad.
Coutinho has been out for far longer and has not featured for Barcelona since December 2020. The Brazilian underwent surgery in January on a knee injury but required a second procedure in April on a meniscal cyst.
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Coutinho Could Benefit From Pedri Rest
Barcelona had been tipped to sell Coutinho in the summer transfer but the 29-year-old is now set to stay and be handed another chance to impress at the Camp Nou, according to Roger Torello at Mundo Deportivo.
Ronald Koeman wants the Brazilian on his team and thinks he could be a useful member of the squad, particularly as Pedri will need to rest at times this season after a hectic 2020-21 campaign for club and country.
The 18-year-old played 74 games in all competitions for Barcelona and the Spain national team. Indeed Pedri has only just returned to the Camp Nou after helping La Roja win the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics and went straight back into the team for the win over La Real.
Coutinho’s situation has also been helped by youngster Ilaix Moriba’s contract standoff with the Catalan giants. The report adds that the midfielder is “reluctant” to sign a new deal which could mean he continues to train with the reserves and away from the first team.
Ter Stegen Return To Strength Barca Defense
Meanwhile, Ter Stegen’s return should strengthen a Barcelona defense that manager Koeman will be hoping can tighten up this season. The Catalan giants were La Liga’s top scorers last season, despite finishing in third, but conceded 13 more goals than eventual champions Atletico Madrid.
Barca has moved to strengthen the backline by bringing center-back Eric Garcia back to the club on a free transfer from Manchester City. Right-back Emerson Royal has also been added to the squad after moving from Real Betis.
The two players increase Koeman’s defensive options and should ensure competition for places is intense across the backline. Ter Stegen will also need to be on his toes with Neto and youngsters Inaki Pena and Arnau Tenas all eyeing the No. 1 jersey.