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A goal celebration at Camp Nou / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

The cliché in football always goes that “the next game is always the most important one” was never truer that it is on Saturday night. FC Barcelona host Mallorca in the middle of the two crucial Champions League matches against Paris Saint-Germain. The danger for the Catalans is that they need to remain focused on the Balearic Islanders, the second from bottom team who are coming to the Camp Nou in dire need of points in order to escape the relegation zone.

A much changed eleven

Barça’s do not only have worries in terms of concentration. They host Mallorca with as many as four confirmed absentees, and big ones too. Valdés is suspended, and Mascherano, Puyol and Messi are all injured. There are also question marks regarding Adriano and Pedro, who have been out of action recently and are not yet confirmed as fully fit.

However, there is every chance that Vilanova and Roura will go for a different eleven this evening, with Wednesday’s game inevitably on their minds, as well as the one already played midweek. With many of the players suffering from tiredness, this may be the moment for other players to relieve them, and may also be a useful chance to try out new options in the centre of defence, where Piqué seems to be the only player guaranteed to start against PSG.

Mallorca in need

And then there’s the opposition. Mallorca, whose manager Gregorio Manzano only arrived a few weeks ago, are in a precarious situation and desperately need any points they can get. They’re second from bottom and have just lost 3-2 at home to last placed Deportivo, which has left them three points adrift of the safety zone. The game also means a return home for former Barça players Miño, Fontàs and Giovani Dos Santos.


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