Barcelona head into Thursday’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in a bit of disarray.
Two successive defeats have dented the feel-good spirit in the first team squad, while at least three key players will be missing. Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Pedri will all be absent from Thursday’s first leg, although they are expected to return for the second leg next month.
Barcelona have already lost at the Bernabeu this season, and Xavi Hernandez have labelled their El Clasico rivals as “clear favourites” for Thursday’s match. The Barca head coach also spoke of Vinicius Jr, whom he considers to be Real Madrid’s most important player.
“Vinicius makes the difference. He’s an exceptional player and he scores goals. He’s a player we have to keep an eye on. He’s playing at a very high level.”
Barcelona will hope to secure a domestic treble this season, but they must secure a respectable result at the very least on Thursday in order to give themselves a chance ahead of the second leg at the Camp Nou.
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