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Barça face their final league game on Saturday against Deportivo La Coruña (4.00pm CET) before leaving for Japan and the World Club Cup. Luis Enrique’s team rounded off their fixtures in the group stage of the Champions League in midweek with a 1-1 draw against Bayer Leverkusen and now they face a Galician side who are one of the revelations of the season and currently occupy sixth place in the table with 22 points, 12 behind leaders Barça.
The squad trained for the final time before their 15th league game of the league season on Friday. Luis Enrique will have to face Deportivo without Neymar, who picked up a groin injury in training in Germany on Tuesday. But both Sergi Roberto and Jeremy Mathieu have been declared fully fit and included in the side, which features Ter Stegen and Bravo as goalkeepers and the outfield players Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Alves, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Mascherano, Bartra, Munir, Jordi Alba, Sandro, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Vermaelen and Mathieu.
Depor coach Víctor Sánchez also has players missing for the trip to Camp Nou. Former blaugrana Oriol Riera is out due to injury as are Borges, Fabricio, Cartabia and Jonás. Midfielder Pedro Mosquera is also missing due to suspension.
Barça boss Luis Enrique faced the press on Friday before the visit of Deportivo and was adamant about the importance of the league clash with regards to confidence for the upcoming challenge in Japan: “The fans need to show support in difficult times to give us security, and I am sure that this will help us get the three points to get to the Club World Cup in top condition.”
Depor coach Víctor Sánchez experienced victory as a player at Camp Nou but admitted that “memories and statistics won’t be any use to us in this type of game.” The former Real Madrid and Deportivo winger believes Barça will not be distracted by the tournament in Japan: “I expect the best from our rivals, regardless of the starting eleven.”
Barça’s eight game winning streak in all competitions came to an end last weekend when they were held to a 1-1 draw in Mestalla by Valencia. Santi Mina’s late strike cancelled out Luis Suárez’s effort to hand the home side a point. Barça remain two points clear of Atlético Madrid in the table and a win against Deportivo would see them remain as league leaders over Christmas. The Catalans have won every single game at home in official competition this season. Indeed the last side to get a result at Camp Nou was Deportivo La Coruña when they drew 2-2 on the final day of last season.
Deportivo have only lost once in their last 10 games in the league. That defeat came away at Málaga and the 2-0 loss is their only one on the road this season. Víctor’s side have drawn 50% of their league matches with 7 in 14 games, the most recent coming last weekend, 1-1 against Sevilla.
Goals from Lucas Pérez and Diogo Salomao gave Depor a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou last season, a point which saved them from relegation on the final day of the season. It was only the second time in nine matches that the Galicians had avoided defeat in the league at FC Barcelona and their last win came back in the season 2003/04.
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