League leading Barcelona host their Catalan rivals Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday afternoon.
La Blaugrana may have been knocked out of the Champions League group stage and Real Madrid have convincingly transformed them in the first part of the season. However, Barcelona dropped just two league points away from El Clasico to go into the World Cup break two points ahead of Los Blancos.
In contrast, Espanyol won only two top-flight games all season. Six league draws kept Diego Martinez’s side above the dreaded dotted line, but they limped into the winter break just one point ahead of relegated Sevilla and Cádiz.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 215th competitive (well, that remains to be seen) Catalan derby.
Barcelona team news
Gerard Pique obviously won’t be in contention for any more Barcelona matches after announcing his surprise retirement on the eve of the World Cup break.
Robert Lewandowski hasn’t breathed a word about wrapping up his career but will miss the next three La Liga matches through suspension after collecting his first Barcelona red card against Osasuna in November.
Barcelona predicted lineup vs Espanyol
Barcelona Starting 11 (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, Christensen, Balde; Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; Raphinha, Fati, Dembele.
Espanyol team news
Martinez won’t be able to call upon Dani Gomez who was shown a straight red card during Espanyol’s first-round Copa del Rey tie against CD Rincon in November.
The freqeunt substitute Keidi Bare is suffering from a ligament injury while left-back Adria Pedrosa has been sidelined with a hernia for the entire first act of La Liga.
Espanyol predicted lineup vs Barcelona
Espanyol Starting 11 (4-2-3-1): Lecomte; Gil, S Gomez, Calero, Olivan; Exposito, Souza; Braithwaite, Darder, Puado; Joselu.