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The FC Barcelona juggernaut will have a prime opportunity to provisionally extend its already commanding lead at the top of the La Liga table to 11 points on Saturday afternoon when it rolls out the welcome mat for visiting Getafe, who will be landing in the Catalan capital desperate to escape the daunting shadow cast by every team’s worst nightmare: the relegation zone. Kick off at Camp Nou is set for 4.00pm CET.
20-year-old striker Sandro Ramírez who was injured during Friday’s workout and will likely be out of action for six to seven weeks, while Javier Mascherano was suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season late in last weekend’s 4–0 rout of Eibar.
Masip and Sergio Busquets have also been dropped, along with Douglas and Adriano, who have both been declared fit but not named among the eighteen.
The complete list is thus as follows: Ter Stegen, Bravo, Piqué, Rakitic, Alves, Arda, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Bartra, Munir, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Aleix Vidal, Vermaelen, Mathieu and Samper.
Along the same lines Getafe get back defender Álvaro Pereira but three others — defenders Álvaro Vázquez and Cala and midfielder Pablo Sarabia — will be serving one-game bans. Meanwhile, three more defenders — Damián Suárez, Roberto Lago and Santiago Vergini — are all one yellow away from suspension.
In his weekly press conference on Friday, FC Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique Martínez explained that his team has but one, simple objective. “We are only thinking about the three points against Getafe, which will leave us closer to our objective of winning the league,” he said.
Getafe manager Fran Escribá, in his press conference, was asked whether his team’s aim was simply to make it out of Camp Nou without being swept away in a deluge of goals. “I assure you that’s not how we feel, just trying to avert a rout,” he retorted. “We want to go in there and do things as best we can. We know we’re up against an outstanding team, but we’re not going to give up.”
FC Barcelona head into the stretch drive with an eight-point lead at the top of the La Liga table, and have not lost a game in any competition since 3 October, a run of 36 matches, including 11 straight wins in La Liga. The lynchpin has been, of course, Lionel Messi, whose blazing start to 2016 has seen him steadily climb the league's goal scoring charts, where, after a sluggish start to the season, he is now third with 21 goals.
After reeling off three straight wins to ring in the new year, Getafe have been in free fall ever since. They snapped a seven-game losing streak in a 1–1 draw with Sevilla at home last week but remain just a single-point above the relegation zone in 16th place.
FC Barcelona are undefeated in 11 all-time games versus Getafe at Camp Nou, with eight wins and three draws, during which they have outscored the Azulones 29–7.
In this season’s first meeting between the two clubs on 31 October, Neymar and Suárez led Barça to a 2–0 victory at Getafe.
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