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The international break now over, FC Barcelona can get back to a Liga campaign that, before we left off, was going wonderfully. The team had strung together a run of five consecutive wins, and so far this season has scored an incredible 18 goals while conceding just one! Frustratingly, such brilliant form hasn’t been enough to earn top spot, for Real Madrid have a 100 per record from their first six games.
The hectic October schedule begins with a trip to Mallorca, a team that has failed to beat Barça in any of its last 12 attempts, with straight wins for the Catalans in the last nine meetings. Following a mixed bag of results thus far, the islanders are currently mid-table in tenth.
However, after more or less having a full strength squad to choose from until now, a number of players have returned from international duty carrying injuries. Xavi Hernández has some thinking to do.
The Dutch duo of Frenkie de Jong and Memphis both picked up hamstring problems in the game with Denmark. But it’s in defence where things are looking particularly messy. Ronald Araujo noted pain in an adductor in the first minute of Uruguay’s friendly with Iran and has required surgery, while Jules Kounde returned from the French camp with an Achilles tendon issue. And to make matters worse, right-back Héctor Bellerín hurt his calf during training back in Barcelona.
Sergi Roberto returns to the 21 man squad selected by Xavi Hernández for the game in Mallorca with Barça Atlètic midfielder Marc Casadó also included.
How things stand
A win would at least temporarily put Barça top of the table. Leaders Real Madrid host Osasuna at the Bernabeu in a Sunday 9pm CEST kick-off. Third placed Real Betis visit Celta Vigo on Sunday at 4.15pm CEST.
Did you know?
If Ter Stegen can last 56 minutes without conceding a goal, he will set a new personal best for Liga minutes unbeaten. His current record is exactly 500.
Barça have won 12 of their last 13 games away to Mallorca, and the only defeat, under Pep Guardiola in 2009, came when they were already champions and were taking it easy ahead of the Champions League Final.
Robert Lewandowski has scored eight goals in his first six league games. The record after seven games is the ten notched up by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2014, while Leo Messi was on nine in 2017. The Pole could match or even beat these amazing tallies if he finds the target again on Saturday.
Six of the Mallorca team were involved in internationals this week: Vedat Muriqi (Kosovo, scoring three goals), Kang In Lee (South Korea), Iddrisu Baba (Ghana), Martin Valjent (Slovakia) and Leo Román (Spain U21).
The boss had his say on Mallorca v Barça:
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