After months of waiting, football returns to Spain as the La Liga season resumes this weekend.
On Saturday evening, league leaders Barcelona take a trip to Mallorca for their first taste of competitive football since the season was brought to an abrupt halt.
The reigning champions can extend their two point lead over bitter rivals Real Madrid with a positive result before Los Blancos play on Sunday, while the home side will be looking to steer themselves out of the relegation zone.
The Catalan giants recorded a resounding victory in the reverse fixture, with Lionel Messi bagging a hat trick in a 5-2 demolition at Camp Nou. La Blaugrana will no doubt be sweating on the fitness of their star man, with the Argentinian suffering a minor injury scare on the eve of La Liga’s restart.
When Is Kick Off? Saturday 13 June
What Time Is Kick Off? 21:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Son Moix
TV Channel/Live Stream? FuboTV (US)
While there remain doubts over Messi’s fitness, he is expected to start the match, although fellow forward Luis Suarez is a major doubt having only recently returned to training after undergoing knee surgery back in January.
Clément Lenglet will be out through suspension, while Ousmane Dembélé remains injured.
As for Mallorca, they’ll be without long-term absentees Abdul Rahman Baba and Leonardo Koutris, as well as midfielder Lumor Agbenyenu.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, De Jong; Messi, Braithwaite, Griezmann.
Mallorca: Reina; Pozo, Valjent, Raillo, Gamez; Rodriguez, Sevilla, Baba, Kubo; Budimir, Cucho.
The two sides have not met too often in recent history, with the home side having been out of the top tier since 2013. Unsurprisingly, Barcelona have come out on top on most occasions, winning 14 times to Mallorca’s two – including Copa del Rey fixtures.
In the 5-2 victory back in August, Barca continued their streak of six home victories in a row over the island side.
While it’s been a somewhat turbulent season for Barcelona, with a multitude of off-field issues, they remain top of the table and had won four of their last five prior to the league’s suspension.
Mallorca, meanwhile, had been in relatively inconsistent form, finding themselves in 18th place, but had won two and drawn one of their last five fixtures.
Here’s how the two teams fared in their last five league outings.
Barcelona 1-0 Real Sociedad (7/3)
Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (1/3)
Barcelona 5-0 Eibar (22/2)
Barcelona 2-1 Getafe (15/2)
Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona (9/2)
Eibar 1-2 Mallorca (7/3)
Mallorca 1-0 Getafe (1/3)
Real Betis 3-3 Mallorca (21/3)
Mallorca 1-0 Alaves (15/2)
Espanyol 1-0 Mallorca (9/2)
Although it won’t be a straightforward affair for Barcelona, you can only see one outcome in this fixture – an away victory.
That being said, the home side will pose a threat with the likes of Cucho Hernandez and young Real Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo, although the absence of a home crowd may be a great hindrance.
Prediction: Mallorca 1-3 Barcelona