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Xavi’s Barcelona starting XI for Paris Saint-Germain Champions League clash is almost set

Barcelona began on Wednesday their preparations for the monster Champions League quarter-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in the French capital, and manager Xavi Hernández is already pretty much certain about which 11 players will start in next Wednesday’s clash.

That’s according to Mundo Deportivo, who report that the coach has already decided to repeat the same team that started the Round of 16 second leg against Napoli, with Marc-André ter Stegen in goal, a back four of Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Pau Cubarsí and João Cancelo, Andreas Christensen as the midfield pivot alongside Ilkay Gündogan, and a front three of Lamine Yamal on the right, Raphinha on the left and Robert Lewandowski up front.

The only doubt is about the third and final midfield spot: Fermín López has gained prominence in recent weeks and played very well against Napoli, but his replacement Sergi Roberto was also decisive in that victory and is now a key piece of the team with the current midfield injuries. The captain’s experience could prove a decisive factor in his selection over Fermín, and Xavi has mostly opted for experience in big away matches throughout his time as Barça coach.

Frenkie de Jong and Pedri are working hard on their recovery from injury and there’s a good chance both will be available on the bench in the first leg, but Xavi will not risk them from the start and the two superstar midfielders will either play limited minutes in the second half or be saved for the second leg based on their fitness level and the situation of the game.

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