Barcelona are finally back home for some La Liga action.
Following a lengthy run of games on the road, Barcelona will finally play a league match at the Camp Nou when they take on Athletic Bilbao.
Since the start of the new year, the Catalans have played eight straight matches away from home. The last time they played in their home stadium was on December 29 in a 1-1 draw against Eibar.
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Barcelona return home to face a familiar opponent in the aforementioned Bilbao. This will be the third time this month playing the Basque side.
These two teams met on January 6th at the San Mamés with Barcelona coming away with a 3-2 win. They faced each other again in the final of the Spanish Super Cup where Athletic Bilbao won by the same score in extra time.
Barcelona are coming off a 2-1 over Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey. Athletic Bilbao also won their Copa del Rey game 2-1 over Alcoyano.
With Marcelino in charge, Bilbao look like a much better team. They look more organized and compact as a unit and always seem to be a thorn in the Catalans’ side regardless of who is in charge.
Since Marcelino took over, their only loss has been at the hands of Barcelona, which was his first game as manager.
Given the schedule congestion with a game in midweek, manager Ronald Koeman knows he needs to be careful with his squad selection. At the same time, he also knows he needs to play as strong a lineup as he can.
There is quite a drop off in quality whenever he fields an alternative side and they cannot afford to drop any more points if they still want a shot at catching Atletico Madrid in the hunt for the league title.