5th April, 2019
This piece of good news could not have come at a better time for F.C. Barcelona and its teeming fans. Just as the team prepares for its top of the league clash against stubborn Laliga rivals Atletico Madrid, and with an eye on the crunch Champions’ League first leg match against a rejuvenated Manchester United, news filtered in that the erstwhile injured Ousmane Dembele has returned to training.
It will be recalled that the dimunitive winger sustained a torn hamstring after he came off the bench in Barca’s 5-1 last-16 second-leg win over Lyon last month, with Ernesto Valverde accepting he knew he was risking the winger’s fitness.
Dembele had been projected to miss the match against Manchester United, with the first leg to be played on April 10 and the return leg scheduled for six days later at Camp Nou.
However to the surprise of the teeming Barca fans all over the world and relief of the his team mates and the coach, the France forward returned to training on Thursday, giving Barca a serious boost ahead of the visit of Atletico – who are eight points behind the leaders – at the weekend.
On the other hand, Atletico have injury issues of their own heading into Saturday’s meeting of the top two as Alvaro Morata is reportedly suffering from a sprained ankle which he incurred from their LaLiga victory over Girona this week.
Added to that is the fact that Diego Costa is also a doubt due to a muscle problem. With Thomas Lemar equally not expected to be fit, Antoine Griezmann and Nikola Kalinic may be the only attackers available to Atleti coach Diego Simeone.
That kind of a situation is surely not going to allow the visitors the best of preparations for a crunch match against a team like F.C. Barcelona.