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Messi and Cesc. The latter returns to the squad / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB

Almeria could be the venue for yet another FC Barcelona record this weekend. In not one of 82 previous editions of the Spanish Liga have Barça managed to win their first seven matches. That could change on Saturday (18.00, GolT, C+ Liga) as Tata Martino seeks to do what no manager has done before him. Bellamy (1929/30), Cruyff (1990/91), Van Gaal (1997/98), Guardiola (2009/10) and Vilanova (2012/13) all made it to six out of six but failed to stretch the winning streak to seven.

Nineteen in the side

Tata Martino is heading for Andalusia with 19 players, including Cesc Fàbregas, who sat out the 4-1 win over Real Sociedad. The main absentee is Javier Mascherano, who pulled his hamstring on Tuesday and will be out for 10 to 15 days. That means that for the first time this season, Barcelona will not be starting with the centre back pairing of Piqué and the Argentinian.

Winless

Almeria look like they’ll be facing a battle with relegation this season, unless Francisco can inspire a dramatic change of fortune. They and Elche are the only sides that have yet to win this term, although in Almeria’s case, they have come very close, with several games only being decided in the final minutes. They have also scored at least twice in every home game played so far and like every team in La Liga, will be especially motivated by the chance to spring a surprise against Barça.

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