Real Betis to test Barcelona in La Liga (Preview)
Barcelona, Aug 19 (IANS) Spanish football champions FC Barcelona kick off their La Liga title defence at home against a much-changed Real Betis on Saturday.
Barcelona will take the field after playing their Spanish Supercup second leg match against Sevilla on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.
That game saw Barcelona emerge triumphant with a 5-0 aggregate over their rivals to win the first domestic title of the season.
However, the Supercup came at a price as key players Andres Ineista (knee), Jeremy Mathieu (hamstring) and Javier Mascherano all suffered injuries and are out for the weekend and probably next week as well.
Ter Stegen has also failed to recover from a knee injury which poses the question over whether coach Luis Enrique will favour Claudio Bravo or give a chance to third choice goalkeeper Jordi Masip. Bravo is reportedly on the verge of a move to Manchester City.
The Barcelona coach rested regulars Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique and Sergio Roberto on Wednesday and they are expected to be named in the starting team. Midfielder Arda Turan will play on the left side of the field.
Betis travel to Barcelona after a busy summer which started with them naming Gustavo Poyet as their first team coach.
The former Brighton and Sunderland coach has been able to work with his new squad all summer and the arrival of players such as Charlie Musonda, who returns for a second loan spell, David Lopez and Antonio Sanabria promises to give the Seville based side a more competitive look this campaign.