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Five changes Xavi could make to the starting lineup for Viktoria vs Barcelona

Barcelona take on Viktoria Plzen in their final UEFA Champions League group stage game with practically nothing to lose.

Now that a place in the Europa League is sealed for the second successive season, Xavi would want to make use of the bench strength in order to give the fringe players some time on the field.

This way, those who are regularly featuring in the starting XI would get a much-needed rest ahead of the Almeria clash over the weekend.

So as the Champions League game is almost upon us, here we look at five changes Xavi could make against the Czech team.

Ferran Torres for Robert Lewandowski

As reported before, star forward Robert Lewandowski has featured in 1,389 out of a possible 1,530 minutes of football this season. Hence, the former Bayern Munich forward is expected to sit out in a game that virtually holds no value for the team.

In turn, Ferran Torres is the likely candidate to take up the role. Now, he hasn’t featured as a centre forward for Barcelona this season, but the 22-year-old is quite familiar with the role, having played in that position during his Manchester City tenure.

Gerard Pique for Jules Kounde

Summer signing Joules Kounde picked up a knock against Valencia and Xavi is rightly expected to stay cautious about his first-choice defender, who has also featured as a right-back this season.

This means a certain Gerard Pique could start his first game since the 3-3 draw against Inter, as the manager does not really have many options to pick from.

Marcos Alonso for Eric Garcia

Like Kounde, centre-back Eric Garcia also picked a niggle against Valencia and was eventually replaced by Marcos Alonso in the first half itself.

Against Viktoria Plzen, Xavi should ideally contemplate the idea of using the former Chelsea man in his starting XI in order to keep Garcia out of any sort of trouble.

Pablo Torre for Pedri

New signing Pablo Torre hasn’t played an official game for Barcelona this season, although the 19-year-old did feature heavily during the pre-season tour.

During the summer transfer window, the youngster decided not to leave the team on loan and tonight’s UCL tie against Czech is set to allow the fans to have a glimpse of him in place of Pedri (tentative), who has been utilized a lot this season.

Raphinha for Ousmane Dembele

Loss of form during crunch matches has forced Xavi to pull Raphinha out of his usual starting spot.

Tuesday’s tie, however, will give the former Leeds United winger a perfect opportunity to get back to his usual self in place as he could replace Ousmane Dembele, who has started each of Barcelona’s last three games.

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