Barcelona has been hit with a double injury blow ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League group stage opener against Bayern Munich at the Camp Nou. Right-back Sergino Dest has suffered a sprained ankle and is expected to miss the tie.
The Catalan giants confirmed Dest’s injury in a statement on the club’s official website. It read, “Tests conducted this Wednesday by the FC Barcelona medical services have revealed that Sergiño Dest has sprained his right ankle. He picked up the injury playing for the United States against Canada in Nashville last September 5 and is currently unfit to play.”
Barca has not confirmed how much time Dest is expected to miss with his injury. However, Catalunya Radio has reported that Dest will definitely miss the visit of Bayern Munich on Tuesday, September 14.
The Catalans also have a major concerns over left-back Jordi Alba who was left out of the Spain starting XI to face Kosovo in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday. The defender has some muscular discomfort and is “not 100 percent,” according to Diario Sport.
Alba will return to Barcelona on Thursday where he will be examined further. Barca certainly won’t want to be without Alba for the visit of Bayern. The club’s only other recognized left-back is 17-year-old Alejandro Balde.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Who Will Replace Dest?
Dest’s injury comes just over a week after Barcelona sold Emerson Royal to Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. The Brazilian had been expected to rival Dest for a starting spot this season but was sold on deadline day.
Koeman has spoken to Diario Sport about Emerson’s departure and why he was willing to sanction the defender’s departure after just three appearances for the Catalan giants.
“An example of me wanting to help the club is the Emerson decision,” he said. “I told the club if the money was important, they can sell Emerson because we have Dest, Mingueza and even Sergi Roberto. I didn’t stand in the way because I could have said: ‘He’s not moving.'”
Emerson’s departure means Sergi Roberto or Oscar Mingueza are the most likely candidates to fill in for the injured Dest. Roberto has started the season in midfield but has been in good form with two goals and an assist in his first three matches.
Mingueza’s only appearance so far came as a late substitute in the win over Getafe last time out. The defender missed the start of the new campaign with injury after picking up a hamstring problem while playing for Spain at the Tokyo Olympics.
Koeman To Tweak Formation?
Koeman could also switch formation for the game against Bayern. The Dutchman has started the campaign with a 4-3-3 but may be tempted to switch to a 3-5-2 against the Bundesliga champions.
There has been speculation that Koeman has been told by Barcelona president Joan Laporta to play a traditional 4-3-3 but the Dutchman explained in his interview with Diario Sport that he is willing to tweak his line-up when needed.
“There’s a lot of literature on this issue but you have to remember that even Cruyff didn’t always play 4-3-3. In my era, we played with three defenders, even with me as a pivot in midfield. I will just say one thing: the coach that doesn’t want or know how to adapt to a certain need or problem is going wrong…” he said. “The Barça that have played the best football with me on the bench, the most effective, conceded the least goals, has been when we played with a three-man defence. The data shows that. I will keep using 4-3-3 but if I think we need to go back to 3-5-2, I will. Always thinking about what’s best for the team.”
Barca has started the season with two wins and a draw but Koeman’s side has not been entirely convincing so far in La Liga. Beating Bayern is a big ask for the Catalan giants, particularly after a chaotic summer transfer window, but would give the club a massive lift.