FC Barcelona will host Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid at the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys on matchday 15 this weekend.
Both teams are on 31 points in La Liga table, with Barcelona in fourth and Atletico third. However, Atletico also have a game in hand.
Barcelona are entering this game after a big 2-1 win against FC Porto in the Champions League. Moreover, this win also means that they have secured their place in the round of 16 for the first time in two years.
Xavi’s side will now focus on La Liga as they are not doing well in the League. Last weekend, they dropped more points against Rayo Vallecano in a 1-1 draw.
The La Liga champions currently sit fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Real Madrid. The Catalan giants have won heir last three league games against Atletico, including a 1-0 success in the corresponding match last season.
Furthermore, they have not lost a home fixture against Atletico Madrid since February 2006.
Atletico Madrid have won their last four games in all competitions, including a 1-0 success over Mallorca in La Liga last weekend, which moved them to 31 points.
Simeone’s side have 10 wins, one draw and two defeats this season in La Liga. Moreover, they also have a game in hand, which had to be postponed due to bad weather.
In the Champions League, Atletico won 3-1 against Feyenoord to secure their place in the round of 16. They will go head-to-head against Lazio on matchday 6 to secure top spot in the Group E.
Barcelona team news
Ter Stegen is still suffering from a back injury and will not participate in this game. So, Inaki Pena will once again start in goal.
Gavi will also be out as he suffered a ACL injury with his national team. Alejandro Balde will be benched again as Joao Cancelo is expected to start at left-back.
Joao Felix will play against his former club and will join Lewandowski and Raphinha in Barca’s attack.
Atletico Madrid team news
Thomas Lemar, Pablo Barrios and Vitolo will all miss the clash against Barcelona. However, their former striker Memphis Depay and Reinildo will be available for this clash.
Another ex-Barcelona striker, Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata, will start at the the front for the Red and Whites.
Saul and Axel Witsel are expected to start in midfield this weekend, whereas Stefan Savic will lead their defence.
Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid: Predicted line-ups
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pena; Araujo, Kounde, I Martinez, Cancelo; Pedri, Gundogan, De Jong; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Felix
Atletico Madrid (3-5-2): Oblak; Gimenez, Witsel, Hermoso; Molina, De Paul, Saul, Koke, Riquelme; Morata, Griezmann
Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid
Despite their poor form in recent games, Barcelona have performed well in their home games. Moreover, they are coming into this game after a big win against Porto, which will give them confidence.
Atletico can cause problems to Barcelona as they have been really solid this season in both defence and attack. Simeone will hope to get Atletico’s first away win against Barcelona since 2006.