Javi Rodíguez against El Pozo Múrcia at the Palau Blaugrana / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

Barça Alusport and ElPozo Murcia will begin the battle for the Liga title this evening at 21:30 (Esport3, BarçaTV and MarcaTV). ElPozo, who have home-court advantage, want to take the lead in the series and thus avoid travelling to Barcelona with the added pressure of being behind in the series.

The Palacio de los Deportes is expected to be completely full this evening in Murcia, a city that welcomed Barça Alusport with extremely high temperatures. This Monday, when the Barça players arrived in Murcia, the temperature was approximately 35 degrees. This Monday the official start of the LNFS final series got underway with the pre-match press conference, which was attended by President Javier Lozano and the managers and captains of both teams -Duda and Kike for ElPozo and Carmona and Javi Rodríguez for Barça.

How FC Barcelona come into the match

The Azulgranas come into the final series on form, despite missing one of the best players in the squad, Ari Santos. Santos picked up a right knee sprain in the semifinal match against Inter Movistar. He underwent medical tests the following day, which led Club doctors to recommend that the player rest and recover. Santos’ recovery will mark his availability in upcoming matches.

The good news is that Fernandao has completely recovered from injury. The player is a vital piece in Carmona’s strategies and line-ups, but he hasn’t been available for over a month due to a muscle injury, which forced Fernandao to miss the UEFA Futsal Cup in Lleida. The rest of the players are healthy but in danger of succumbing to fatigue - which is logical, Barça have played the most games out any other Spanish team this year. However, according to Javi Rodríguez, the players are very eager to keep on making history: “it’s the first final against ElPozo and I’m especially excited.”

The team will train for an hour an a half on ElPozo’s court before tonight’s match.

The rival

ElPozo was the best team in the regular season, but the Azulgranas have been nibbling away at their morale all season. ElPozo lost to Barça in the Spanish Super Cup and in the final of the Copa del Rey... In the Liga, however, the teams have drawn twice - both at the Palau and in Murcia.

The manager, Duda, said that “we’re challenged with beating the super-team of the moment,” and Kike, ElPozo’s captain, was quick to say that “if anyone can beat them, it’s us.” It should be mentioned that ElPozo’s captain, and the national team’s captain, is a true expert when it comes to finals: he’s featured in 11 of the last 13. Furthermore, all of ElPozo’s players are healthy and match-fit.