Barça return to the La Liga campaign on Sunday afternoon on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca, with little time to digest the Champions League defeat in Celtic Park. However, Barça continues to lead both competitions. And in the domestic competition, the team has the additional motivation of the chance to extend their record-breaking run of 9 wins and just one draw in 10 league encounters, including five straight away victories. Barça tops the league table with 28 points, 3 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid.
Messi and Villa look for goals
A glance at the record books shows that Barça have won on no fewer than 9 of their last 10 visits to Mallorca. On an individual level, Leo Messi and David Villa may get the chance to add to their personal tally of records. Messi is just one goal away from the record of 75 goals scored in one calendar year, set by the legendary Pelé 1958. As for Villa he needs just two more goals to reach a career total of 300.
Tito Vilanova welcomes back Sergio Busquets after the midfielder missed out on the Celtic game due to suspension. The manager can also count on Gerard Pique, who made his comeback after injury in Glasgow, to strengthen the back line. However, he has confirmed that he’ll be without Carles Puyol – “He’ll have to wait another week”.
Problems mount for Mallorca
For Mallorca, the match against Barça couldn’t have come at a worse time. They have lost their last five matches and have slid down the table to find themselves just two points clear of the relegation zone. This disastrous run of form has gone hand in hand with an avalanche of injuries. Former Barça player Giovani dos Santos, together with Javi Márquez, Nunes, Antonio López, Joao Víctor and Uche, will all miss the game.
On the plus side, Mallorca boss Joaquín Caparrós can call on Andreu Fontàs, on loan from Barça until 30th June. Teams managed by Caparrós usually apply a lot of pressure in the opposing half which may interrupt Barça’s passing style.