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Primera División

  • 19 October 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Estadio El Sadar, Pamplona (Iruñea)
  • Referee: Pedro Jesús Pérez Montero
  • • Attendance: 16123
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Osasuna-Barcelona Preview: Blaugrana aiming for ninth straight win

Osasuna-Barcelona Preview: Blaugrana aiming for ninth straight win

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Gerardo Martino's side have taken maximum points from every Liga game will fancy their chances in Pamplona against a side already in the relegation zone

Barcelona welcome back Lionel Messi for Saturday's trip to Osasuna after the striker returned to training on Monday following a thigh injury.

The Argentine missed their last two matches, against Celtic in the Champions League and Real Valladolid in la Liga, after aggravating his injury in the 2-0 win over Almeria.

The 26-year-old was also absent for Argentina's final two World Cup qualifying matches, but should be fit to face a side that he scored six goals against last season.

Osasuna did not have a good time against Barca last term, but will take heart from their 3-2 victory over the Catalans at home in February 2012, while they also come into the game on the back of a 1-0 win over Malaga in their last domestic fixture before the international break.

However, Gerardo Martino's side have enjoyed a perfect start to the campaign with eight wins out of eight, and are also boosted by the return of Javier Mascherano, who has also been struggling with a thigh problem.

Osasuna coach Javi Garcia will be without Alvaro Cejudo through suspension, while he also has injury concerns over Raoul Loe (thigh), Roberto Torres (head), Echaide (knee), Miguel Flano (collarbone), and Nino (knee).

Goalkeeper Andres Fernandez is expected to play and the 26-year-old believes the hosts can cause an upset on Saturday.

"They are Barca, we know it will be very difficult, that nothing will be easy and that they can hurt us in just two passes," he said. "We will have to work hard, but at home we can hurt them.

"Here, we are capable of taking points against any opponent and we are working towards that. The coach is putting across the idea that we can win this week. We are making efforts to unsettle them and it is better left unsaid so they do not take note."

As well as the return of Argentine duo Messi and Mascherano, Barca have also welcomed back Carles Puyol following his knee issues, although Saturday's match may come too soon for the club captain.

Jordi Alba (thigh), Ibrahim Afellay and Isaac Cuenca (both knee) are likely to be out for the league leaders as they look to extend their winning start.

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13Andrés FernándezGoalkeeper
2Marc BertránDefender
5Manuel Ortiz ToribioMidfielder
14ArribasDefender
22Jordan LotièsDefender
24DamiàDefender
8De las CuevasMidfielder
11SisiMidfielder
20F. SilvaMidfielder
21Roberto TorresMidfielder
19Oriol RieraStriker
1Asier RiesgoGoalkeeper
3Joan OriolDefender
4Miguel FlañoDefender
15OierDefender
10Patxi PuñalMidfielder
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5Carles PuyolDefender
15BartraDefender
21AdrianoDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
7PedroStriker
11NeymarStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
12Jonathan Dos SantosMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
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