Barcelona head into the second-leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon holding a narrow 2-1 advantage.
The holders go into the match on the back of a run of poor form, having lost successive La Liga matches after previously going 39 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Atletico are now only three points behind Barcelona in Spain’s top flight and will look to capitalise on their rivals’ stumbling form. Atletico picked up a precious away goal at the Camp Nou that will give them hope going into the second leg, but could have been even better if their goalscorer, Fernando Torres, hadn’t have picked up a second booking before the break.
Luis Enrique’s team looked a shadow of themselves in their last game against Real Sociedad, losing 1-0, but they were without Luis Suarez, who netted both goals against Atletico in the first leg, although the former Liverpool player returns to try and help the Catalan giants into the last four.
Atletico are heading into the game on the back of two wins in La Liga against Real Betis and Espanyol, scoring eight and conceding just two in the process.
With the return of Suarez to the attacking trio of Lionel Messi, who is enduring his worst goalscoring drought for five years, and Neymar, Barcelona will be the favourites to progress, however Atletico are no pushovers, with their defence being the strongest in Spain this term, conceding just 16 goals.
Atletico’s biggest loss is obviously Fernando Torres after his red card in the first leg at the Camp Nou last week.
Tiago is also absent for Simeone’s team, but both Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic returned to training and will face late fitness tests.
Barcelona will be without defender Thomas Vermaelen and midfielder Rafinha who are both nursing injures, but Gerard Pique should be fit following a hip problem.
League Positions: Atletico Madrid – 2nd (La Liga – 73 pts) Barcelona – 1st (La Liga – 76 pts)
Previous Meeting: Barcelona 2-1 Atletico Madrid (Champions League – April 5 2016)
Form: Atletico Madrid – WWLWLW Barcelona – WWDWLW
Key Men: Atletico Madrid – Antoine Griezmann: Barcelona – Lionel Messi
Shoot Says: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Barcelona