Malaga-Barcelona Preview: The Blaugrana hope to bounce back after two games without a win
Both sides will have an eye on a potential last-four meeting with Real Madrid, with the home team on the front foot going into this second leg having scored twice at Camp Nou
By Charlie Scott
Sanchez, Demichelis, Weligton, Gamez
Joaquin, Isco, Eliseu
Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas
Pedro, Messi, Iniesta
Barcelona and Malaga complete a trio of matches against each other when they play the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final at La Rosaleda on Thursday evening. Manuel Pellegrini's side currently hold an advantage on away goals in this cup clash after drawing 2-2 at Camp Nou in the first leg last week.
The visitors will be without their coach Tito Vilanova as he receives more medical treatment in New York, but can call on all of their 25-man squad after Isaac Cuenca was given the green light to return to competitive action after a long period out with a knee injury.
After drawing against Malaga in the first leg of this fixture last week, the Blaugrana went on to surrender a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday which marked their first loss in the league this campaign.
Malaga, meanwhile, followed up on their impressive performance at Camp Nou with a 1-1 draw in the Liga at home to Celta Vigo.
The Andalusian side will be without Nacho Monreal after he was sent off in the first leg for a foul on Pedro. However, having exceeded expectations with a weakened side to draw 2-2 last week, it is likely that Pellegrini will recall the likes of Isco, Joaquin, Welligton and Martin Demichelis.
New loan signings Lucas Piazon from Chelsea and Diego Lugano from Paris Saint-Germain may also be included in Malaga's squad.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- A late equaliser from Ignacio Camacho in the first leg secured Malaga an away-goal advantage going into this game, with Manuel Iturra scoring their other goal. Lionel Messi and Carlos Puyol were on the scoresheet for Barcelona in that 2-2 draw.
- Malaga have won just once so far in 2013, when they beat Eibar 4-1 on January 8 in the previous round of the Copa del Rey.
- Diego Buanonotte has enjoyed a prolific start to the calendar year in front of goal for Pellegrini's side, having scored a fine free kick against Barcelona during their 3-1 loss on January 13 and netting twice in that 4-1 victory over Eibar.
- The Blaugrana are the current reigning champions in the Copa del Rey, after they defeated Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in the final of last season's competition.
- Cesc Fabregas (pictured right) has not lost any of the 11 Spanish cup games he has played for Barcelona. In those games he has scored four and supplied seven assists.
- Barcelona have so far conceded 35 goals in 33 games in all competitions this season, at an average of 1.06 per game, compared to 48 in 64 games last season at an average of 0.75 per game.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
Top 3 Predictions
Malaga 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 20.22 %
Malaga 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 10.93 %
Malaga 1-4 FC Barcelona
- 8.9 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jan 26, 2014||FC Barcelona 3 - Malaga 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Aug 25, 2013||Malaga 0 - FC Barcelona 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jun 1, 2013||FC Barcelona 4 - Malaga 1|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 24, 2013||Malaga 2 - FC Barcelona 4|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 16, 2013||FC Barcelona 2 - Malaga 2|
|Mar 1, 2014||Malaga 1 - Valladolid 1||LIGA|
|Feb 22, 2014||Almeria 0 - Malaga 0||LIGA|
|Feb 17, 2014||Malaga 0 - Real Sociedad 1||LIGA|
|Feb 8, 2014||Rayo Vallecano 4 - Malaga 1||LIGA|
|Feb 1, 2014||Malaga 3 - Sevilla 2||LIGA|
|21||Sebastián Fernández Miglierina||Striker|
|9||Roque Santa Cruz||Striker|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
The former Valencia man has been in superb form for Manuel Pellegrini's side this season, and after being rested for the first leg at Camp Nou will hope to have an impact in the return leg as Malaga set their focus on a place in the last-four.
After a disappointing finish to the 2011-12 season the 25-year-old has been prominent for the Catalan giants this campaign, finding the net seven times and providing nine assists in all competitions.
Despite Barcelona failing to record a victory in their last two matches expect them to rediscover their winning formula at La Rosaleda as they defend their Copa del Rey title.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed