Former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen has been included in the Barcelona squad to face Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday 6 May for the first time since his summer arrival to the Camp Nou from the Emirates Stadium.

The Belgium international defender joined Luis Enrique's side on 9 August last summer after Arsene Wenger agreed to part ways with him for a fee close to £15m ($23m).

But having previously suffered a hamstring injury during the Brazil World Cup, the 29-year-old centre-back has been unable to play a single minute for the La Liga giants.

Former Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta claimed during his official unveiling at Barcelona last summer that, even though he had suffered a minor injury during the World Cup, the club had decided to go through with his signature as he was expected to be ready to return in a matter of weeks.

But later in November 2014 the club announced that the former Arsenal captain needed surgery and was going to be out of action for four to six months.

The highly anticipated moment has finally arrived after Barcelona manager Luis Enrique included the Belgium international in his 18-man squad for the crucial game against Bayern Munich.

Nevertheless and even though Vermaelen will replace former Valencia defender Jeremy Mathieu, who has an Achilles heel problem, he is just expected to remain on the bench with Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano starting in the heart of the defence.

The full squad for the game: Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Claudio Bravo, Dani Alves, Adriano, Jordi Alba, Pique, Marc Bartra, Mascherano, Vermaelen, Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Rafinha, Pedro, Neymar, Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi.