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Barça’s 2-0 win at the weekend in the Catalan derby against Espanyol kept them two points ahead of rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table with just five games in the league season remaining. The first of that quintet of title deciders comes on Tuesday against Getafe at Camp Nou, a game that kicks off at 8.00pm CET. The blaugranes cannot afford any slip ups with Carlo Ancelotti’s side breathing down their necks, so victory is imperative at home against the team from Madrid who come into the game in 13th place on 36 points, still needing results to lift them once and for all away from the relegation dogfight at the bottom of the table.
Jordi Alba is out through suspension following his red card in the victory at the Power8 Stadium on Saturday and there are no places either for Masip, Douglas, Piqué or Thomas Vermaelen, that despite the latter finally getting the all clear from the Club’s medical staff.
The full squad is thus as follows: Ter Stegen, Bravo, Alves, Montoya, Bartra, Adriano, Mascherano, Mathieu, Sergio, Sergi Roberto, Rafinha, Rakitic, Iniesta, Xavi, Pedro, Messi, Neymar Jr and Luis Suárez.
Getafe boss Franco named his 18 man squad on Tuesday for the trip to Camp Nou. The 34 year old welcomes back central defenders Alexis and Emiliano Velázquez after both missed the 1-0 home defeat to Levante on Saturday due to suspension. However, Sarabia and Diego Castro have been left out with injuries picked in that game and just a long list of players missing due to physical problems that is completed by Karim Yoda, Juan Valera, Álvaro Vázquez and Ángel Lafita.
In his pre-game press conference on Monday, Barça boss Luis Enrique revealed that the best news of the day was the return to availability of Belgian defender Vermaelen: “It’s very good news for him and for the team. Now he needs to get into the right rhythm. Of course he’ll help us, let’s see whether that is on or off the pitch.” The blaugrana coach also made it clear that the team are not taking the threat posed by Getafe lightly: “They defend with intensity and have quality in attack. Despite missing players they’re nearly safe from relegation and I’m sure they’ll create trouble for us.”
Pablo Franco is Getafe third coach of the season following the departures of first Cosmin Contra and then Quique Sánchez Flores. The former Getafe B boss was bullish about his team’s chances of keeping Barça’s electrifying attacking trio of Messi, Suárez and Neymar at bay: “With the defensive performances recently by the team, of course we can. The other day looking at videos you could see how concentrated the team. With that focus and looking after the details and carrying out our game plan, why won’t we be able to stop them.”
The blaugranes have won 13 of their last 14 matches in all competitions and eight of their last nine in the league following the win at Espanyol last Saturday, a game in which Xavi Hernández made his 500th league appearance of the Club. The victory also marked the side’s 20th away of the campaign in the league, Cup and Champions League.
New Getafe coach Pablo Franco has been in charge for nine league matches since taking over from Quique Sánchez Flores and his record reads three wins, one draw and five defeats. The club from Madrid have won four time away from home in the league this season, at Real Sociedad, Deportivo, Córdoba and Elche. Nevertheless, they lost 4-0 on their last road trip at Athletic in San Mamés, as well as losing at home to Levante in their last league fixture.
Barça coach Luis Enrique was quick to point in his pre-game press conference that Getafe came to Camp Nou last season with the side coached by Tata Martino challenging for the league title. A 2-2 draw at home in the final run in to the campaign put a huge dent in the blaugranes’ title ambitions. That was one of four meetings between the clubs in 2013/14, two in the league and two in the Spanish Cup. Barça picked up wins in the other three encounters which included 4-0 win at Camp Nou in the Cup. Earlier this season the sides fought out a 0-0 draw back in December in the league at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez.
No matter where you are in the world we have you covered. And remember, you can enjoy live commentary in English on Radio Barça. The link will appear at fcbarcelona.com just before kick-off. Twitter users can follow @FCBarcelona for a live feed of all the action.
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