The team need to bounce back in the Vallecas Stadium. FC Barcelona take on Rayo Vallecano in Madrid determined to get back on track after a tough week in which the team has lost to Real Madrid in La Liga and to Chelsea in Europe. And on Friday it was announced that Josep Guardiola will be stepping down to be replaced by Tito Vilanova, a change designed to continue the successful formula of recent seasons. The match against Rayo will be the first since the news broke.

19-man squad list

Josep Guardiola has named a squad of 19 players (one player will be excluded before the match) including the 16 available members of the senior squad (everyone except the injured Fontàs, Villa, Abidal, Xavi and Piqué) plus Bartra, Montoya and Tello from Barça B. This is the first time the two teams have met in the league in the Vallecas stadium since Rayo were last in the First Division in the 2002/03 season. On that occasion Rayo won 1-0.

Realistically, it will be a really tough call for FC Barcelona to renew their league title but the players will keep on competing to the end. The match will also serve to prepare for the Cup final against Athletic Club in the Vicente Calderon on 25th May.

Key players missing for Rayo

Rayo manager José Ramón Sandoval will go into the match without some of his regular players. In defence he’ll be without left back Casado and central defender central Labaka, both suspended. In midfield, Armenteros, Javi Fuego and Piti, three players who have played a key part in Rayo’s surprising season, are all out injured. Rayo currently sit in a relatively comfortable 15th place, six points clear of the relegation zone and with a game in hand.

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