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With 10 games to play, Leo Messi leads La Liga in both goals (24) and assists (12).

With 10 games to play, Leo Messi leads La Liga in both goals (24) and assists (12). | MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

FC Barcelona, fresh off its impressive midweek dismissal of Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League round of 16,  has two primary objectives heading into Sunday’s home clash with middle-of-the-table Athletic Club Bilbao — to remain unbeaten for a 36th consecutive La Liga game and to maintain, or even to increase, its 8-point lead at the top of the standings. But the Basques, who are looking to rebound in the wake of Thursday night's ignominious exit from Europa League play, are certain to come out swinging as the league schedule, with just 10 games remaining, heads into the final sprint.

LA LIGA STANDINGS: See where Barça, Athletic Club, and every other team are currently situated!

Who’s In & Who’s Out

After the team trained on Saturday morning, manager Ernesto Valverde released the following squad list for the team’s final game before it takes a two-week hiatus for international friendlies:

Barça's two biggest scratches are Sergio Busquets, who was injured in the midweek Champions League victory over Chelsea, and Luis Suárez, who is suspended for yellow card accumulation.

VIDEO: Highlights of Saturday’s training session along with detailed squad list info!

Form Guide (all competitions)

Barça
D W D W D W D W W W

Athletic Club
D W L L W D L L W L

Quotable

Statistically Speaking

STREAK CITY! . . . For yet another week, Barça comes into a league game with an impressive array of lengthy streaks on the line . . . The most important one, however, is Barça’s already Club-record 35-game unbeaten run in La Liga, which stretches back to the final seven games of last season and which now includes the first 28 games this season . . . A win or draw versus Athletic would stretch that run to 36 games and would inch Barça ever closer to the all-time league record of 38 matches in a row without a loss, set by Real Sociedad — also over two seasons — almost 40 years ago . . .

35 GAMES UNBEATEN! Inside the streak!

CHASING 38 GAMES: THE ALL-TIME LA LIGA RECORD
#36 — Week 29 — Mar. 18 — vs. Athletic Club
#37 — Week 30 — Mar. 31 — at Sevilla
#38 — Week 31 — Apr. 7/8 — vs. Leganés
#39 — Week 32 — Apr. 14/15 — vs. Valencia

OTHER STREAKS ON THE LINE . . . Barça has won its last 8 league games in a row over Athletic Club, including 6 shutouts, but has never won 9 straight against Los Leones . . . Now, if we’re talking only about matches played at Camp Nou and in all competitions, Barça is unbeaten in its last 21 against Athletic (17–4–0) . . . In fact, the last time Athletic won at Camp Nou was a 2–1 victory in November 2001 . . .

VIDEO: Total Recall — Marc-André Ter Stegen’s mammoth performance at San Mamés!

MESSI TIME! . . . Lionel Messi, who is having another one of his standard, not-of-this-world seasons, comes into the Athletic match leading La Liga in goals (24) and assists (12) . . .the Argentine is four goals behind leader Mo Salah of Liverpool in the race fo rthe European Golden Shoe . . . On top of all that, Athletic Club is one of Messi’s favorite victims at Camp Nou, where he has scored 16 goals in 18 games against them in all competitions . . .

KING MESSI OR KING MIDAS? The race for the European Golden Shoe!

HELLO, AGAIN! . . . Barça manager Ernesto Valverde is facing his former team — which he played for and then coached — for the second time since signing with the Catalans over the summer . . . He led Barça to a 2–0 win over Athletic at the San Mamés earlier this season . . . That win was the only triumph in the last six games he has coached against his former team . . .

VIDEO: The day Valverde beat the Dream Team at Camp Nou!

How to Follow the Game Live

As always, Barça's match will be broadcast live around the world. We will also have live English play-by-play streamed on R@dioBarça. And social media users can get live updates on Barça's official Facebook and Twitter accounts as the action unfolds.

TV GUIDE: When and where to watch FC Barcelona vs. Athletic Club

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