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Barcelona’s Pre-Season Panic: Hansi Flick set to battle looming fatigue crisis

As Hansi Flick gears up for his debut season with Barcelona, he’s acutely aware of the significant toll that international competitions like the Euros and the Copa America can take on his players. 

With many of his team members still battling it out in these tournaments, he’s preparing for the challenges of managing their fitness and form.

Out of the 13 Barcelona players involved in these competitions, 11 are still in the running. In the Euros, 11 players represented their countries, while in the Copa America, two players are playing. 

Of these, only Robert Lewandowski and Andreas Christensen have been eliminated so far. The remaining players are still pushing forward, facing a few more games if they continue to progress. 

Those in the Euros could have up to four more matches, while those in the Copa America might play up to five more games. This means they still have to put in one last major effort before the season ends.

The workload is enormous

Ilkay Gundogan is the Barcelona player who has clocked the most game time this season. He has played in a staggering 65 matches, averaging about 80 minutes per game. 

He featured in 51 out of Barcelona’s 53 games and played 14 matches for Germany. At 33 years old, Gundogan is enduring a very demanding 2023-24 season, totalling 5,198 minutes on the field.

Ilkay Gundogan has been used the most by Barcelona and Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Young talent Lamine Yamal, just 16 years old, is also having an intense year with 60 matches under his belt, 50 for Barcelona and 10 for Spain. 

Unlike Pedri, who has played the least with 38 matches due to injuries, Yamal has managed to stay relatively injury-free. Furthermore, Fermin Lopez has made his debut in this Euro Cup with two matches, totalling 45 appearances this season. 

Ferran Torres has played 11 matches for Spain and 42 for Barcelona, though many of these were as a substitute.

Trouble for Barcelona?

Interestingly, it has come to life that eight of the 13 international players have played over 50 matches this season. Lewandowski has appeared in 59 matches, including 10 for Poland. 

Jules Kounde has played in 58 matches while Portuguese players Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix have each played over 50 matches, with Cancelo at 54 and Felix at 53, splitting their time between club and national team duties. 

Christensen has completed 51 matches for the club but is now on vacation. On the other hand, among those with fewer match counts are Fermin, Pedri, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The two players in the Copa America, Ronald Araujo and Raphinha, have also played fewer matches. Araujo has played in 43 matches while Raphinga has played 47 matches, with 10 of these for Brazil.

As Flick looks ahead, he knows the importance of managing his squad’s workload. With many players having played an extensive number of matches, recovery and rest will be crucial to ensure they are ready for the upcoming season. 

The challenge will be to balance training and rest to keep the team in top form, especially after such a gruelling international schedule.

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