After securing a vital 1-0 victory over Sevilla on the weekend, FC Barcelona shift their attention towards the UEFA Europa League, as they take on Eintracht Frankfurt at the Deutsche Bank Park.
It is going to be a tricky affair for Xavi’s men as Frankfurt are one of the most organised teams in the Bundesliga, boasting a strong attacking lineup that could cause problems for the Barça defence.
To that end, the ineligibility of Dani Alves, coupled with the injury of Sergiño Dest could be a massive blow for Xavi, potentially forcing the Barcelona coach to field Ronald Araujo at right-back.
However, it appears Barcelona have been dealt with another blow, this time in the offensive department, as Memphis Depay has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
As confirmed in an official statement, the Dutchman has picked up a left hamstring strain. He will not be available for the trip to Frankfurt on Thursday, and his availability in the coming matches will depend on how he recovers.
Depay’s absence from this tie could grave affect Xavi’s depth in reserve, but it is unlikely to be consequential to the coach’s team selection heading into this affair.
Depay has indeed lacked prominence in Xavi’s first-team plans, primarily due to injuries and a lack of form. As such, he has fallen behind the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ferran Torres, Ousmane Dembele and even Adama Traore in the pecking order.
Against Frankfurt, Xavi is likely to opt for a front three of Aubameyang, Ferran and Dembele, the same combination that started against Sevilla. It won’t be surprising to see Adama getting the nod, but Dembele could be preferred due to his form and Bundesliga experience.
As for Depay, Barça have not given a specific timeframe for his return. A lot will depend on how his injury gets diagnosed, and it seems plausible that the Dutchman could miss the remainder of the campaign before being shipped out of Camp Nou in the summer.
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