Match Preview: Alaves vs Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga
BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 18: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona scores his team's third goal during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou on August 18, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Deportivo Alaves host treble-chasing Barcelona at the Mendizorrotza Stadium on Tuesday night.

Barcelona travel to northern Spain, as they meet Alaves in the 34th Matchday of the Spanish championship.

The Catalans are only six points away from retaining their La Liga crown, which would be the 26th title in the history of the club.

Alaves is currently just below the final Europa League spot, a competition they have a history in, having reached the final before losing to Liverpool back in 2001.

They were genuine contenders for a top-four finish less than a month ago before a poor run of form ended any such aspirations.

Team news

Japanese winger Takashi Inui and his colleague Burgui, who is out until the end of the season, will miss the game for the host side.

Central defender Guillermo Maripan is also unavailable for Abelardo Fernandez ahead of the clash with Barcelona on Tuesday night.

Barcelona’s midfielder Rafinha is nearing full fitness after the serious knee injury he sustained last November, but the Brazilian remains sidelined for the trip to the Mendizorrotza Stadium.

French winger Ousmane Dembele returned to the first team in the 2-1 victory against Real Sociedad over the weekend, while Ernesto Valverde doesn’t have any fresh injury concerns.

What did the managers say

Alaves boss Abelardo Fernandez played for Barcelona in his time as a football player, winning two La Liga titles with the Catalans.

Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt still unsure of his future

Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt conceded his future is still far from resolved despite the many big clubs that are set to compete for his signature.

“You have to learn from mistakes, I can not say anything bad about my footballers because there are five games left and the goal is achieved,” he said after the 2-2 draw against Valladolid.

“The team leaves the skin in every game. It’s a shame because in the last home games we put ourselves ahead on the scoreboard. ”

Ernesto Valverde says it is not over until his players win the title mathematically.

“Today was always going to be a very important game and we have nine points left until we’re champions, but it’s very difficult to win,” said Valverde after the game against Real Sociedad, as we reported yesterday.

“I know that people already say that we are champions, but we’re not. We have to go game by game to win until the end.

“This isn’t over, not until we get to the last game is everything done. It will always be difficult.”

Stats

Alaves have won only two games at home since the start of 2019 and none of the last five games at the Mendizorrotza Stadium.

Barcelona are unbeaten in La Liga since last November. The Catalans have won 13 of their last 15 games across all competitions.

Lionel Messi has scored 33 goals in the 2018-19 campaign. Kylian Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick last night is the only other player to reach 30 goals in the top 5 leagues this season.

Barcelona have won 10 of the last 11 games against Deportivo Alaves, with their only defeat coming in September 2016 at Camp Nou.

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