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Luis Enrique’s team are looking for their 12th victory in a row in all competitions against a Málaga side who are yet to win away in 2015.
Barça trained on Friday at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper at the newly inaugurated Camp Tito Vilanova. Douglas trained with the squad again despite not having medical clearance and Andrés Iniesta returned to training earlier in the week after receiving the all clear from the Club’s medical staff. The midfielder missed last weekend’s league win over Levante due to a bout of ‘flu. Luis Enrique has called up a strong 18-man squad for the game: Ter Stegen, C. Bravo, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Xavi, Pedro, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Rafinha, Mascherano, Bartra, Jordi Alba, Adriano, Alves and Mathieu.
For Málaga influential striker Nordin Amrabat and midfielder Ignacio Camacho are missing from the squad due to suspension. January signings Egor Filipenko and Javi Guerra were named in the 18 man list made public by coach Javi Gracia on Friday. Still out through injury are Flavio, Chen and former Espanyol defender Sergio Sánchez.
Málaga squad; Kameni, Weligton, Samuel, Javi Guerra, Ricardo Horta, Juanmi, Tissone, Ochoa, Recio, Angeleri, Duda, Rosales, Boka, Miguel Torres, Filipenko, Juanpi, Samu Castillejo and Sergi Darder
In his appearance before the press on Friday ahead of the Málaga game, Barça coach Luis Enrique was in no doubt that the season is entering its crucial phase: "The biggest months of year are upon us, with knockout stages and league games. But if you don't do your homework earlier in the season, you're not in a position at this point to fight for titles."
Málaga boss Javi Gracia in his pre-game press appearance made it clear what he believes his side have to do: “FC Barcelona give their rivals few options; so we must make the most of the ones we have.”
The blaugranes have recorded 11 straight wins in all competitions since the defeat against Real Sociedad in Anoeta in the league at the beginning of January. At home in Camp Nou they have scored 20 goals in six matches in 2015, averaging over three goals per game. In contrast Málaga have won just once in their last seven matches and are coming into the game at Barça off the back of consecutive league defeats against Levante and Espanyol.
Ones to watch
Leo Messi could make it 11 games in a row this season scoring at Camp Nou if he finds the net on Saturday. The Argentinian already has 26 league goals already this season, one more than the league total for the entire Málaga squad. Xavi Hernández received a special tribute in the home game against the Andalusians last season after having made it to 700 games in official competition in a Barça shirt.
Málaga striker Javi Guerra arrived in January from English Championship side Cardiff City, He scored 15 league goals in the Spanish top flight last season for a relegated Valladolid side. He has already opened his account for his new club, getting the equaliser in his side’s 1-1 draw in San Mamés against Athletic Bilbao in the league.
Málaga have lost on their last 12 visits to Camp Nou in the league, conceding 15 goals in their last four matches at FC Barcelona’s ground. Barça have scored at least twice in their last 13 home games against the club from Andalusia. Nevertheless, Javi Gracia's team did hold Barça to a 0-0 draw back in September in the league game in La Rosaleda.
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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