By 90Min
February 10, 2018

Barcelona return to action for the first time since securing entry into their fifth straight Copa del Rey final on Thursday night, via a 2-0 (3-0 on aggregate) win over Valencia, when they take on Getafe at the Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon. 

After marking their longest unbeaten start in the Premier Division, 29 games - winning 25 of those - last weekend, Blaugrana are currently closing in on eclipsing their best ever run in the competition, which currently stands at 31 outings without defeat - set by Pep Guardiola's squad in the 2010/11 campaign. 

However, despite holding an impressive record against this weekend's opponents in recent times, securing four wins from their last four contests - scoring 16 goals in the process and conceding just once - Jose Bordalas' Getafe are not to be underestimated, making their way from Madrid to Spain's east coast sitting in a respectable 11th after three successive draws against Athletic Club, Sevilla and Leganes. 


So, ahead of this weekend's showdown, let's take a look at everything you need to know.


Classic Encounter

Barcelona 5-2 Getafe - 2007

LLUIS GENE/GettyImages

Despite the rather goal-packed scoreline and the contest being blown wide open after less than 15 second-half minutes as Getafe netted twice to cut their deficit to just one, this, in the end, convincing Barcelona victory almost 11 years ago will always be remembered for one thing; Lionel Messi's Diego Maradona-like slalom goal.


The Argentine has scored 11 times in his last 11 meetings with Azulones, with the now-30-year-old grabbing two on this famous April night, but it was his first which made the headlines. 


After starting things out in his own half, and beating two defenders before leaving it, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner escaped the retreating Getafe defence with sheer pace before side-stepping a further duo on the edge of the area, rounding the goalkeeper and, finally, slotting home. 

This truly exquisite finish is regarded as one of the greatest solo goals of all time, and justifiably so, and it paled Xavi's tidy turn and finish, Eidur Gudjohnsen's beautifully timed volley, Samuel Eto'o's mastery and even his own top corner rocket into significance. 


Key Battle

Yerry Mina vs Angel Rodriguez

David Ramos/GettyImages

Although, considering Getafe have failed to secure victory inside the Camp Nou in their last 12 attempts, Barcelona are expected to be the more expansive and attacking out of the two, this weekend's key battle will undoubtably be full debutant centre-back Yerry Mina coming up against experienced striker Angel Rodriguez. 

The 23-year-old secured his first minutes in the famous red and blue of Blaugrana on Thursday evening, after being introduced in the final moments as Gerard Pique developed an issue, meaning the winter signing is very much an unknown quantity in La Liga. 

With Ernesto Valverde also suffering with the unavailability of Samuel Umtiti through suspension and Thomas Vermaelen injury, the Catalans may be forced to field a rare back-three, offering Rodriguez the opportunity to potentially reap the benefits in attack. 

The 30-year-old has been crucial in Getafe's respectable campaign thus far, netting eight goals and providing one assist, with two and one respectively coming in his previous four outings - meaning, whoever comes out on top in this one could well define how comfortable Barcelona's afternoon is on Sunday. 


Team News

As already mentioned, Pique and Vermaelen are serious doubts for the weekend through injury and Umtiti is also unavailable through suspension. 

Due to this, Valverde may be forced to adopt a 3-5-2 formation, with Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquest, who will secure this 300th league appearance if he features on Sunday, playing a more-shielding role.  

Summer signing Ousmane Dembele remains on the treatment table, however is likely to be fit enough to be included when Barca take on Chelsea in the Champions League later this month.

LLUIS GENE/GettyImages

In Getafe's camp, midfielder Markel Bergara is still unavailable for selection after suffering a metatarsal fracture late last month, however, aside from the 31-year-old, boss Bordalas is expected to have a full squad to choose from. 


Prediction

On paper, this showdown seems pretty straightforward to call, however, the inclusion of Mina and the expected formation change may offer the visitors hope.


But, despite that, the La Liga leaders should have too much firepower going forward, and considering they have have had no problems with finding the back of the net against Azulones in the past, I expect the hosts' unbeaten run to extend to 30 games, while adding another mark in the win column on the way. 


Score Prediction: Barcelona 4-1 Getafe

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