Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has confirmed Lionel Messi will make his starting line-up in the Champions League game with Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday night (6 December) despite the La Liga giants already through to the last-16 as group leaders. Neymar, meanwhile, will miss the game due to suspension but the boss allayed injury fears surrounding the Brazilian after he was forced off in the weekend draw with Real Madrid.
The Catalans host the Bundesliga side in a dead rubber encounter as Barcelona have already beaten Manchester City for the top spot in Group C – while Borussia will drop to the Europa League in third place.
Luis Enrique admitted that he will rotate his squad as he does not care much about the result, but added that he would like to secure all the three points to respond to recent disappointments in La Liga, with Barcelona being held to consecutive draws against Malaga, Real Sociedad and Real Madrid.
“It’s a positive game because we can use different formations and different players, rest others who have been playing most, and even try some different things on the field. But I would like to win the game but the general plan goes above that. I don’t give a damn about winning for my own morale but it’s important for us to win tomorrow for the players’ morale after our recent results, but that won’t make me change my plans for the game or not risk players,” Luis Enrique said. “Winning is always the best medicine to all the problems,” the Barcelona boss said in the press conference ahead of the Champions League clash. “In this game the maximum motivation is not there because there’s nothing to play for but it’s important to win. We have to enjoy a game in front of our fans. That’s our target regardless who plays.”
Nevertheless, when questioned whether Messi will feature, the Barcelona boss replied: “Yes, he is going to start from the beginning.”
Andres Iniesta may also return to the line-up after the captain made his comeback from a prolonged spell on the sidelines during El Clasico, arguably Barcelona’s best player after replacing Ivan Rakitic in the 60th minute of the game.
“It’s always important to get players back from injury and even more when your captain is back. He was back to his usual self in (El Clasico). He played really well (against Real Madrid),” Luis Enrique said.