Barcelona midfielder likely to return to starting lineup against Royal Antwerp – report

After securing a thumping 5-0 victory over Real Betis on Saturday, Barcelona will now shift their focus towards the UEFA Champions League where they face Royal Antwerp in their first Group H game tomorrow.

Leading up to the game, the Blaugrana will be high on confidence after their stunning performance at home against Betis.

As such, there will be some temptation for the manager to not change his lineup for the game against the Belgian champions on Tuesday night.

But with a run of six games coming up before the international break, there is expected to be some rotation.

Ilkay Gundogan to return

As such, Juan Jimenez of AS is reporting that midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is likely to return to the starting lineup for Barcelona’s game against Royal Antwerp.

The 32-year-old joined Barça as a free agent this past summer and has quickly become a vital member of Xavi Hernandez’s setup.

Gundogan started each of Barcelona’s four La Liga matches before the international break earlier this month but found himself on the bench against Real Betis.

This was partly due to precaution as Gundogan had picked up a knock during the international break and even though he had not picked up an injury, Xavi opted not to risk him from the start.

Gundogan did come on as a substitute and play for the final 26 minutes or so, and is all set to start tomorrow against Royal Antwerp as per the report.

What could be the other changes?

Gundogan’s return could be at the expense of Oriol Romeu if Xavi opts for a fully attack-minded team against Royal Antwerp. Otherwise, the manager would have to replace one of Gavi or Frenkie de Jong, or take out one of the forwards from the team.

Meanwhile, there could be a change in defence with Inigo Martinez stepping in for Andreas Christensen.

As for the attacking unit, both Raphinha and Lamine Yamal are pressing for starts, but with Ferran Torres, Robert Lewandowski, and Joao Felix all scoring in the last game, it will be interesting to see how Xavi…

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Author : Michel Durant

Publish date : 2023-09-18 09:22:00

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