FC Barcelona lock horns with Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final clash.
The Catalans need a win in order to book tickets to the semi-final, after drawing 1-1 at the Deutsche Bank Park in the first leg. Given Eintracht’s record away from home, this could be a major challenge for Xavi and co.
The Barcelona head coach had missed out on the services of a host of first-team stars in the first leg, including Sergino Dest, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Dani Alves whereas Gerard Pique picked up an early injury.
Reports earlier this week suggested Xavi was going to be boosted by the return of both Pique and Memphis heading into this contest.
Those reports appeared to have been confirmed by Helena Condis Edo, who claims Dest, Memphis and Pique have all returned to training this midweek, meaning they could be in contention to feature against Eintracht Frankfurt.
It could serve as a massive boost for Xavi, whose side lacked the defensive solidity in the weekend affair against Levante, with Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo operating at centre-back.
The return of Pique, to that end, could help them strengthen the backline. The same can be said for the return of Dest, who could be the only natural right-back available due to the ineligibility of Alves.
Memphis, meanwhile, might not be a starter on Thursday. But he does offer strength on the bench for Xavi, which could be useful if the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore underperform once again as they did in the first leg.
In fact, only Pique might be a guaranteed starter among the three, but the return of the two other players in such a crucial juncture of the campaign will be extremely beneficial for Barça, as they look to seal a top-four finish in La Liga while winning the Europa League.