How Barcelona could line up vs Real Madrid: Key midfield decision, star man to be benched

Barcelona face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Copa del Rey clash on Wednesday night, and Ernesto Valverde has decisions to make.

The two rivals are locked at 1-1 after the first leg, and so it’s all to play for at the Bernabeu in midweek with a place in the Final at stake.

SEE MORE: Confirmed Barcelona squad vs Real Madrid: These fans delighted with key inclusion from Valverde

With that in mind, both Valverde and Santiago Solari are expected to name their strongest possible line-ups, although key tactical choices will have to be made by the visitors.

According to Sport, Philippe Coutinho could be left on the bench, with the Catalan giants preferring a midfield trio of Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto.

Meanwhile, Ousmane Dembele could return to the starting line-up to partner Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in attack, with his pace and movement in the final third perhaps key in finding breakthroughs on the counter-attack.

Arthur is back from a hamstring injury for this encounter but he may not be risked from the start and so may well have to settle for a place on the bench.

Further, Samuel Umtiti could also be left out as having only just returned from a troublesome knee injury at the weekend, Valverde surely won’t risk playing him twice or even three times in the space of a week.

Barcelona and Real Madrid meet again at the weekend in La Liga as the title race goes on, and so changes are expected for this one to rotate and keep key players fresh for that showdown.

Time will tell if this is the line-up that they opt for, but it’s certainly strong enough on paper to get the job done and advance to the Final with Lionel Messi undoubtedly the danger man as always after his world-class hat-trick at the weekend to see off Sevilla.

Probable Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, Rakitic; Messi, Suarez, Dembele.

More Stories Philippe Coutinho