Barcelona secured a narrow victory to preserve their unbeaten start to the season against Ernesto Valverde’s Athletic Club.
Xavi Hernandez’s side were plagued with significant injury challenges and had to rely on the talents of La Masia Academy prospect Marc Guiu, who marked his league debut with an 80th-minute goal to secure the win.
In their encounter with Athletic, the Catalan club was without the services of key players, including Jules Kounde, captain Sergio Roberto, striker Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha Belloli, and midfielders Pedri Gonzalez and Frenkie de Jong.
Following the match, coach Xavi discussed his injury-plagued squad and the potential absence of players in their upcoming home clash against arch-rivals Real Madrid.
Reports from Fotbmob indicated that La Blaugrana had only 13 fit first-team players in the clash against the Basque Republic side, which prompted questions about their players’ fitness ahead of El Clasico.
As reported by the media outlet Sport, Xavi mentioned that two of their injured players were unlikely to recover in time for the match.
“Kounde won’t be able to make it in time, and Sergi Roberto is also unlikely to be available. The availability of the others will depend on their recovery progress.”
He emphasized the significance of the upcoming match, saying,
“It is a crucial game for us. Despite our many injuries, we hope to regain some players this week. Winning this match is vital for us, especially since we’ll be playing at home.”
Before facing Los Blancos, Barcelona will need to navigate the Champions League challenge posed by Shakhtar Donetsk.
Xavi is hoping his team can perform well and avoid injuries, recalling that their previous UEFA Champions League game resulted in an injury to Lewandowski.
???? Marc Guiu’s family reacting to his goal on first professional appearance…
Football. ❤️✨ pic.twitter.com/W7kGRuiEdk
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 22, 2023