Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is expected to deploy a gala XI for the crucial Champions League quarter-final second leg at Atletico Madrid tonight (13 April). Diego Simeone, meanwhile, faces a selection dilemma over the absence of Fernando Torres in his attack, after the former Liverpool hero was sent off just minutes after scoring the opener in the first leg 2-1 loss.
Luis Enrique rested Jordi Alba, Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta for the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad at the weekend, and also used Munir alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar due to the suspension of Luis Suarez. The Spanish media, both in Madrid and Barcelona, agree the quartet will return for the Vicente Calderon showdown, allowing the boss to use his preferred starting line-up.
This would echo the approach of the first leg, with the unmovable MSN trident leading the attack and Sergio Busquets, Iniesta and Rakitic controlling the midfield. Marc-Andre ter Stegen was preferred in goal to Claudio Bravo and the backline consisted of Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba.
The Barcelona manager has since being hit with injuries to both Thomas Vermalen and Rafinha Alcantara. Despite worries early in the week after Pique missed Monday's training session, the club's regular starters have not fell to significant fitness problems and will be able to play at the Vicente Calderon. Jeremy Mathieu, Aleix Vidal and Sandro Ramirez failed to make the 19-man travelling squad, after they missed the 2-1 victory at the Nou Camp in the first leg due to injuries.
Simeone's selection plans, meanwhile, are under more debate in spain as the manager will not be able to use the suspended Torres in his attack.
The Atletico Madrid boss sprung a tactical surprise in the first leg by deploying an offensive line-up, with Yannick Ferreira Carrasco alongside Antoine Griezmann and the former Chelsea and Liverpool striker in attack. The Spanish press believe he will bolster his midfield this time round, replacing the Spaniard with Augusto in a 4-4-2 formation. However, if he opts to stuck with three upfront he could compensate for Torres with either Angel Correa or Luciano Vietto.
The manager, meanwhile, has welcomed the return of both Oliver and Stefan Savic after the duo missed the first leg with injuries. Some expect the former Manchester City centre-back will step into the back line to partner Diego Godin in the heart of the defence, as the long-term injured Jose Maria Gimenez remains on the side-lines. However, it is believed that Simeone will give another chance to Lucas Hernandez after the academy starlet impressed both in the first leg at the Nou Camp and during the 3-1 victory over Espanyol on the weekend.