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15.10.2008 12:20

Very different preparations

Jesús Carrillo

The break in the league programme for international matches has meant that FC Barcelona and Athletic Club de Bilbao have prepared for this weekend’s game in San Mamés in very different ways.

Blaugrana coach Josep Guardiola and Athletic boss Joaquín Caparrós have had to plan for the encounter with the first having 18 players away on either World Cup qualification, friendly or Under-21’s duty, while the latter has had to cope with only two of his first-team squad missing.

In Barça’s case they have seen Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi, Gudjohnsen, Keita, Touré, Cáceres, Messi, Abidal, Henry, Piqué, Bojan, Eto'o, Márquez, Dani Alves, Sergio Busquets, Pedro and Hleb all leave, depite the last player on the list being injured. Guardiola has only had Sylvinho and Víctor Sánchez to work with of all his outfield players.

Athletic have two called up

QM3D2680.jpgAthletic have not had the same problems as only two players have had to leave the club. Andoni Iraola was called up by Vicente del Bosque to represent Spain and Javi Martínez was included in the Under-21 set-up for the European Championships qualifiers against Switzerland. Martínez joined Barça starlet Pedro Rodríguez in having to travel to the game and back on the same day after Athletic informed Spain Under-21 boss Juan Ramón López Caro that he was injured.

Hleb like Javi Martínez

Aliaksandr Hleb was also injured yet called up by his national side and he had to travel to Minsk before returning to Barcelona to continue with the recuperation programme on his injured ankle.

Unlike Martínez, Baçra’s Pedro picked up a knock while training with the Under-21 squad and returned to the Ciutat Contal with a muscle strain.

Two days to prepare

QM3D4540.jpgDue to the international commitments of his squad, Guardiola will have only two training sessions to prepare for the game in San Mamés. Some players have already arrived back, but many will not appear until Thursday lunctime, like the Spanish players and Iceland’s Eidur Gudjohnsen, while Lionel Messi is not expected back until the evening.

Athletic, meanwhile, have had two whole weeks to prepare with almost their entire squad while Iraola will return to the set-up on Thursday.
Very different preparations
Two injuries for Barça
Barça have seen one of their players suffer a knock while away on international duty after Pedro and Touré Yaya picked up injuries and both are now doubtful to be included in the trip to face Athletic Club de Bilbao at the weekend.

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