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After games in Huelva, Nice and Geneva, plus the training camp in Birmingham, Luis Enrique has now taken his team to Finland for the fourth preseason friendly. At 6.00 PM CET on Saturday afternoon, the Catalans face the biggest club from the Finnish capital, HJK Helsinki, in a game whose ambassador is former FCB player Jari Litmanen.
The Brazil and Argentina internationals that only returned to work a few days ago, Leo Messi, Neymar, Javier Mascherano and Dani Alves have all been left behind to continue their preseason preparations at the Ciutat Esportiva.
Xavi and Mathieu out
Like against Napoli, Luis Enrique will also be missing Xavi Hernández and Jérémy Mathieu. Both players have recovered well from their respective injuries, but it was decided it would be best for them stay in Barcelona. So the definitive squad consists of 20 players, 14 from the first team and six from the reserves.
Adama, Bagnack and the injured Patric have all returned to normal duty with Barça B, meaning that the only reserves still assisting the first team are Grimaldo, Edgar Ié, Samper, Halilovic, Sandro and Munir.
It’ll be a tough test for Barça against a side whose season has been under way since April. HJK, managed by a fine former player in Mika Lehkosou, are top of the table in the Finnish league, and are through to the semi-finals of both national cups. But after going out of the Champions League to Apoel Nicosia midweek, their European campaign now switches to the Europa League. Later this month, they’ll be contesting a place in the group stages with Rapid Vienna of Austria.
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