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FC Barcelona are away to Getafe in the second to last game of the Liga season with Xavi Hernández having achieved what he set out to do. When he joined the club in November, he always said that the primary aim was to lift the team into the top four places and a place in the Champions League next year.
That has already been done, and the team is now on the verge of going one better and securing second place and a berth at the Spanish Super Cup in January. One point from Sunday’s 7.30pm CEST kick-off would be enough to do it, or even a defeat should Atlético Madrid fail to beat Sevilla, with another chance at home to Villarreal to come next week.
But it won’t be easy. Getafe are still not entirely safe from relegation, and will be keen to get at least the point they need to guarantee another year of top flight football at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez.
It will come as a relief to fans in the south of Madrid, who saw their team lose their first seven games of the campaign. But things eventually took a turn for the better for a side that draws a remarkably large proportion of its games.
Two familiar faces to look out for in the home side are strikers Carles Aleñà and Sandro Ramírez, the latter on loan from Huesca.
The last time we met
Barça won the reverse fixture in October 2-1, with Sergi Roberto scoring after just two minutes before the visitors equalised 17 minutes later. On the half hour, Memphis netted what would prove to be the winning goal.
"We just need a point to make sure of second place, and traditionally struggle away to Getafe. But our main target is to win the game and then we can start planning and deciding things for the future. We need cover in every position.”
"We need to look after the ball better. We have to create pressure when we lose it and we have fallen off in that regard. We need to get that back up again.”
"Ronald Araujo wants to play and we’re touched by that. He never lost consciousness against Celta. But it all depends on how he feels and what he wants.”
“Alejandro Balde is a very useful player and he might get to play tomorrow. Jordi Alba has played almost every game since I got here.”
“I am always optimistic. There was a time when it looked like we could contend for trophies but it didn’t happen. We have to demand more of ourselves next season. Both the players and the coach.”
The squad to face Getafe
Xavi has called up the following players to the squad: Ter Stegen, Sergio, Riqui Puig, O. Dembélé, Dani Alves, Memphis, Ansu Fati, Adama, Braithwaite, Neto, Lenglet, L. de Jong, Ferran, O. Mingueza, Umtiti, Aubameyang, Carevic, Gavi, Balde, Álvaro Sanz, Mika Mármol and Jandro.
This means that five youth players are joining the first team for the trip to Getafe: Carevic, Balde, Álvaro Sanz, Mika Mármol and Jandro. Ronald Araujo is left out as a precaution, Dest, Eric Garcia, Piqué, Sergi Roberto, Nico and Pedri all miss out through injury, while Jordi Alba, Eric and Frenkie de Jong are suspended.
Did you know?
Barça have only lost one of their last 20 games in all competitions against Getafe. That was in this fixture last year, decided by a solitary Jaime Mata goal.
Getafe are unbeaten in their last four Liga fixtures, although three of those were draws.
This is Barça’s last away game of the season, and could complete a run of 15 road trips without a single defeat.
Getafe boss Quique Sánchez was previously in charge of Espanyol, with whom he got his only point in six attempts against Barça, a 1-1 draw in 2018.
Barça are wearing their violet change strip in this game as part of their support for the International Day Against LGTBI-phobia on May 17 as part of European Diversity Month
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