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Luis Enrique’s side carry a narrow advantage on the away goals rule thanks to the long range strike from Carles Aleñá in Alicante but will nevertheless be going all out for the win in the final game of 2016.
Luis Enrique has allowed Piqué, Suárez, Messi and Neymar Jr to start their Christmas holidays early, so none of those players are included in the squad. Meanwhile, Mathieu is still out with a calf injury and regular goalkeeper Ter Stegen is to be rested.
The full squad is therefore as follows: Cillessen, Masip, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis, Arda, Iniesta, Rafinha, Mascherano, Paco Alcácer, Jordi Alba, Digne, Sergi Roberto, André Gomes, Aleix Vidal and Umtiti.
In a decision taken by Hércules manager Luis Tevenet, all members of the playing staff will be making the journey to Barcelona, despite the fact that just 16 players can be registered for the matchday squad.
The blaugrana coach emphasised the need to “improve in various areas against very defensive teams, such as the circulation of the ball, committing enough players forward and pressing quickly when the ball is lost.”
The Hércules boss, on the other hand, said: “We are aware that it will be tough, that we are facing a great opponent and that we have to score a goal,” but Tevenet believes his side’s task is “not impossible”.
Barça’s recent form has improved since the 1-1 draw in Alicante on 30 November. After winning just one game in four after that result, the Catalans have won three matches in a row: Borussia Mönchengladbach at home (4-0), Osasuna away (3-0) and Espanyol (4-1)at the Camp Nou.
Hércules have done exactly the same since the last meeting between the sides, earning straight wins over Atlético Baleares, Mallorca B and Cornella.
The last cup tie between the teams met was in 1995/96, when Barça went through after a 4-1 win at Camp Nou following a 0-0 draw away. In 1956, Hércules managed a 1-1 draw in Barcelona, but a 2-1 win away was enough to see Barça through.
The last meeting between the two at the Camp Nou was, in fact, a 2-0 shock win for Hércules in La Liga in 2010.
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