Barcelona handed injury boost ahead of Champions League clash against Inter


Spielt Kai Havertz bald mit Lionel Messi in einem Team?
BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 11: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou on November 11, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi is targeting a comeback from his thigh injury to feature in Barcelona’s Champions League game against Inter Milan on Wednesday. 

The 31-year-old forward had picked up a thigh injury during his team’s unconvincing win over fellow La Liga side Villarreal last Tuesday.

He was subsequently ruled out from Barca’s weekend win against Getafe and there were also major doubts about whether the Argentine would feature against Inter during the mid-week.

However, as per Spanish news outlet SPORT, Messi has responded to the treatment on his injury better than expected and now stands a chance to play some part against Inter on Wednesday.

The Argentine’s return would give Barcelona a huge boost after they struggled to break down a stubborn Borussia Dortmund defense in their Champions League opener a fortnight ago.

Injury troubles are piling up for Messi

Lionel Messi verletzte sich beim 2:1-Heimerfolg des FC Barcelona in La Liga gegen den FC Villarreal.
BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 24: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona lays on the pitch during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Villarreal CF at Camp Nou on September 24, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Although Barcelona have already played 7 matches in La Liga alone, Lionel Messi has played only 120 minutes for club and country so far this season.

Even before the new season kicked off Messi was already struggling with injury troubles. He missed Barcelona’s first four games of the season after picking up a calf-injury during the pre-season.

Messi then returned to action as a 2nd-half substitute against Borussia Dortmund, before appearing in a short cameo against Granada at the following weekend. However, just when his fans thought that his injury troubles were now a part of history, Messi was once again sent to the treatment table.

The 34-year-old started his first game of the season during Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Villarreal a week ago, though he was subbed off at half-time after hurting his thigh in the closing stages of the first half.

So far this season, Barcelona have played 80% of their games without Messi on the pitch, a major reason why the club has been struggling for goals.

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How will Barcelona lineup against Inter Milan?

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 14: Carles Perez of FC Barcelona in action during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Valencia CF at Camp Nou on September 14, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Barcelona are expected to field a starting XI without Lionel Messi who, even if he fully recovers from his injury, won’t be thrown straight into the action.

With the Argentine not in contention to start the game, Ernesto Valverde might turn to the same front three of Griezmann, Suarez and Perez to front the Barcelona attack on Wednesday.

Arthur has been proving his worth in the Barcelona midfield and is expected to partner alongside the likes of Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto to face Inter at the Camp Nou.

The continued absence of Samuel Umtiti due to injury means that Valverde has little choice but to field the center-half pairing of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet on Wednesday. The two center-halves are expected to be provided support by Jordi Alba and Nelson Semedo from the wings.

Barcelona potential starting XI vs Inter Milan: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Junior; De Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Perez, Suarez, Griezmann.

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