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Barcelona will have a gargantuan task on their hands, when they take on arch-rivals Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Copa, at the Santiago Bernabeu, on Wednesday night.
The Catalans started off the new season under new manager Ernesto Valverde with a 3-1 thumping at the hands of the Spanish capital club at Camp Nou on Sunday night, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Marco Asensio scoring, after Gerard Pique had netted against his own team and Lionel Messi had converted a penalty.
They will go to the Bernabeu knowing that it will take a Herculean effort for them to erase the first leg deficit and get their hands on the trophy. Nevertheless, they will definitely be up for the challenge, given how important a win could be in the larger scheme of things, going into the new season.
Valverde has a clean bill of health and no suspended players coming into the game.
The German has nailed down the starting spot ahead of Jasper Cillesen and that is unlikely to change on Wednesday.
Valverde began with Aleix Vidal at right-back on Sunday, but may reconsider his options and start with the summer arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Had a torrid game at Camp Nou in the first leg and will need to pull up his socks and perform better if Barca are to stand any chance of getting their hands on the trophy.
Was Barcelona’s best player in the first leg and has made the centre-back spot his own since his arrival last summer. A definite starter.
Another player who shone to a certain degree on Sunday night, Alba will start at left-back ahead of Lucas Digne.
The Spaniard has been used in the midfield role by the new manager, unlike the past season where he was played at right-back. Could replace Ivan Rakitic after the Croatian’s underwhelming display in the first leg.
The experienced Spanish international will start again in the middle of the park and look to shield his back line and recycle possession.
The ageing maestro did not have a great influence on the proceedings at the Camp Nou but remains Valverde’s best option to start with.
Scored from the spot and did cause some problems to the Madrid players on Sunday, despite not being at his best. Will need to be at the top of his game on Wednesday.
Another Barcelona player who was far from his best, the mercurial Uruguayan will have to step up in a big way come Wednesday night.
With Gerard Deulofeu struggling in the first leg, Valverde may look to start Denis Suarez on the left-hand side of the attacking trident. The Spaniard did impress after coming on as a substitute on Sunday.