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Another huge game. This Sunday at 9.00pm CET, Barça are away to Real Betis as they return to Liga action just three days after exiting the Copa del Rey in a 1-0 defeat at Athletic Club.
Quique Setién is returning to the club that he managed for the last two seasons, and Júnior Firpo was at the Sevilla-based club for five years before coming to Barça. But they are not the only ones who will be reunited with familiar faces at the Benito Villamarín. Former Barça players Marc Bartra and Cristian Tello are now at Betis, and it is also the club to which Carles Aleñá has gone on loan until the end of season. Full-back Àlex Moreno was also at Barça in in younger days.
Luis Suárez, Ousmane Dembélé and Neto are all absent through injury, while Gerard Piqué is serving a suspension. Iñaki Peña, Ronald Araujo, Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati from Barça B are all included, and Arturo Vidal is back after a minor fitness issue has been put behind him.
Last five meetings
25/08/19 Barça 5 (Griezmann 2, Pérez, Alba, Vidal) Betis 2 (see video below for highlights)
17/03/19 Betis 1 Barça 4 (Messi 3, Suárez)
11/11/18 Barça 3 (Messi 2, Vidal) Betis 4
21/01/18 Betis 0 Barça 5 (Rakitic, Messi 2, Suárez 2)
20/08/17 Barça 2 (Messi, Roberto) Betis 0
Did you know?
Ansu Fati made his Barça debut in the 5-2 defeat of Betis earlier this season, coming on as a 77th minute substitute for Carles Pérez.
Leo Messi got a standing ovation the last time Barça played at this ground. The third instalment of his hat-trick was so amazing that it won the Puskas Award for the world’s best goal of 2019.
Messi has scored two or more goals no fewer than eight times against Betis.
Look out for early goals. Betis and Barça lead La Liga in goals in the first 15 minutes, with eight each.
Betis did win at the Camp Nou last season, but that’s only win against the Catalans in their last 17 attempts.
Betis manager Rubi was part of Tito Vilanova’s staff at FC Barcelona. He has faced the blaugrana five times in his career and is still looking for his first win.
COPA Athletic 1-0 Barça
LIGA Barça 2-1 Levante
COPA Barça 5-0 Leganés
LIGA Valencia 2-0 Barça
COPA Ibiza 1-2 Barça
LIGA Eibar 1-1 Betis
LIGA Getafe 1-0 Betis
COPA Rayo 2-2 Betis
LIGA Betis 3-0 Real Sociedad
COPA Portugalete 0-3 Betis
Real Madrid, three points clear going into the weekend, visit Osasuna earlier in the day (6.00pm CET). Getafe have moved up to third with a 3-0 defeat of Valencia, and Atlético Madrid beat Granada to go fourth, at least for time being ahead of Sevilla who visit Celta at 6.30pm CET.
Betis manager Quique Setién: It's all in the video below!
Betis manager Rubi: “Missing Piqué means nothing because they played us without Messi earlier this season and they beat us 5-2 … They’ll be angry about going out of the cup, but we’re playing well at home and know this is a good chance to beat Barça … I really want to win because I’ve never beaten Barça before … We know Setién very well but he knows us. But it does mean that the players have a clearer idea how they can win this game.”
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