Preview: Barça v Getafe - last game of the season at Camp Nou

Preview: Barça v Getafe - last game of the season at Camp Nou

Sunday at 6.30pm CEST brings the last game of the season at Camp Nou for a team that building up to the Copa del Rey Final

FC Barcelona return to action on Sunday at 6.30pm CEST for the first time since the disappointment of Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool. With the Liga title already secure, visiting club Getafe are in far greater need of the points, but the Catalans will be keen to post a strong performance in their final game of the season at Camp Nou.

A win will go at least some way towards putting the defeat at Anfield behind them and help to redirect the focus on the upcoming Copa del Rey Final and the completion of the league and cup double for the second year in a row.

Team news

Almost all the regular starters sat out the 2-0 defeat at Celta last weekend with the trip to Liverpool in mind, and although most will be expected to be backaaaa on Sunday, Ousmane Dembélé injured his hamstring at Balaidos and Luis Suárez is out for the rest of the season due to knee surgery.

The visitors

Getafe are already assured of at least equalling their highest ever finish in La Liga (sixth in 2010). And the fourth position they currently hold would see them qualify for the Champions League for the very first time – so naturally there is a buzzing sensation of anticipation at the club.

Sevilla and Valencia are both in hot pursuit, but four points from this game and the one at home to Villarreal on the final day would be enough for the Madrid-based side to clinch that goal. So Barça know that they facing a team that are VERY hungry to get a point out of this game and go into the final fixture ‘depending on themselves’.

Most of Getafe’s goals this season have been coming from the strike partnership of Jorge Molina and Jaime Mata, who are now the club’s record duo of goalscorers in a single season of top flight football, but with the latter misses this game through suspension.

But it’s in defence where they are especially excelling. Only Barça have conceded fewer league goals this term, although one of the back four mainstays, Portuguese left back Vitorino Antunes, is going to be out for the rest of the season following knee surgery.

Head to head

Barça have only lost two of the 27 meetings between the clubs over the years, and never at Camp Nou. In fact, in three of the last five encounters at Camp Nou, the Catalans have scored a massive SIX goals. With Barça on a 9-game winning streak at Camp Nou, history is not on Getafe’s side in any shape or form.

The reverse fixture at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, the first of 2019, ended 2-1 to Barça with first half goals from Leo Messi and Suárez. That was the Argentinian’s 13th league goal against Getafe, a club record.

Going for gold

Leo Messi will be hoping to consolidate his place at the top of the European goalscoring tree. With 34 goals a sixth Golden Shoe beckons, his chances boosted by the fact that his only serious rival, Kylian Mbappé with 30 goals, is serving a 3-match suspension.

Coaches’ verdicts

Ernesto Valverde: "We can do nothing but keep looking forward. Our legs might feel heavier now, but that’s the only way we can deal with what we have before us. … With every setback comes an opportunity. We were all struck by what happened but this is our last day in our stadium and it’s a chance to lift the team again.”

Pepe Bordalás: “Let’s not forget what a big club Barça is. Nobody expected that defeat after such a brilliant first leg. The Camp Nou is always a tough place to visit and we’d be wrong to expect Barça not to be at their best. They’ll try to play well, and in Messi they have the best player of all time.”

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