Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has offered an update on injured forward Ousmane Dembele, who has not featured for the Catalans giants since January 2023.
Dembele is once again not included in the matchday squad for Sunday’s clash with Atletico Madrid in La Liga at the Camp Nou, but Xavi has confirmed he will return to action next week.
Barcelona face games against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday, April 26 and then head to Real Betis on Saturday, April 29. Xavi told a pre-match press conference that Dembele will be back in action in at least one of those fixtures.
“He [Dembele] is just one step away. He’s not quite ready but he almost is. If it’s not Wednesday it will be Saturday,” he said. “Everyone who is in the squad is 100%. We’ll see tomorrow who will play. Chrisensen is the same, he’s almost there. The good news is that we have recovered almost the entire squad, apart from Sergi Roberto.”
Dembele’s return will be a big boost for the Catalan giants ahead of the final weeks of the league season. The forward has 8 goals and 7 assists for Xavi’s side in 29 appearances in all competitions so far this season.
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Barca’s Injury Problems Easing
Xavi has received some good news ahead of Barcelona’s clash against Atletico. Midfield duo Pedri and Frenkie de Jong have both been passed fit for the match and included in the squad.
The return of the two players should provide Barca with a much-needed boost against an in-form Atletico. Barca have failed to score in their last three matches in all competitions and have been held to goalless draws in their two last two games.
Pedri’s creativity and ability to supply the final ball has been missing, as Barca’s lack of goals shows, and Xavi will be hoping the Spain international’s return can help his team rediscover their goalscoring touch.
Xavi Talks Barcelona’s Lack of Goals
Xavi addressed Barcelona’s lack of recent goals before the match and tipped top score Robert Lewandowski to end his mini-drought. The Poland international has not scored in his last three games but Xavi continues to back his summer signing.
“He’s motivated, he’s trained really well, he’s always looks for answers to improve, for the team to improve,” he explained. “We are really happy with him. He’s not had the numbers of the first half of the season but will be scoring again, he’ll keep being important.”
Lewandowski missed Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Atletico earlier in the season at the Wanda Metropolitano due to suspension. Dembele scored the only goal of the game on that day, but Barca will need to find a new match-winner on Sunday with the Frenchman still sidelined for now.
Yet Barca possess an excellent recent record against the Rojiblancos and have not lost any of their last 16 home matches against Atletico in La Liga, winning 11 and drawing five times.
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