Barcelona predicted lineup vs Atletico Madrid - La Liga

Grey Whitebloom
Xavi Hernandez faced Atletico Madrid 32 times as a player, winning 14 matches and scoring six goals
Xavi Hernandez faced Atletico Madrid 32 times as a player, winning 14 matches and scoring six goals / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Barcelona travel to Spain's capital to face Atletico Madrid in La Liga for a mouthwatering encounter on Sunday night.

Xavi faced Diego Simeone's Atletico from Barcelona's midfield on ten separate occasions as a player, losing just one game - the second leg of a Champions League quarter-final (W4 D5).

In the only managerial head-to-head between the pair, Xavi's Barcelona came out on top in a 4-2 victory last February.

Here's the XI Xavi may deploy to improve his impressive record against El Cholo.

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Atletico Madrid - La Liga (4-3-3)

Pablo Martin Paez Gaviria 'Gavi'
Gavi put Barcelona ahead with a rare header when the Catalans last faced Atletico Madrid / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen - Now into his ninth season at the club, Ter Stegen was made Barcelona's fourth captain following the retirement of Gerard Pique by Xavi and his staff, rather than a vote among the playing squad as is the custom.

RB: Jules Kounde - The World Cup runner-up is at his best when life's pressures don't weigh him down. “When you are calm when you’re not stressed. That’s when you show your best version of the pitch. I have always said that," he explained.

CB: Ronald Araujo - Almost four months after his last club appearance, Araujo marked his return with a goal in the midweek round of cup fixtures. Can he do the same if he resumes La Liga action this weekend?

CB: Andreas Christensen - In three previous career appearances against Atletico, Christensen went unbeaten for Chelsea in the Champions League.

LB: Alejandro Balde - Spain's national team manager Luis de la Fuente is optimistic about Balde's future after coaching the fullback in the country's youth ranks. "He can go as far as he wants," he gushed, "if he’s professional, works hard, improves with playing time, he will be a monster.”

CM: Gavi - Across Europe's top five leagues, no teenager has made more fouls than Barcelona's full-blooded 18-year-old.

CM: Frenkie de Jong - Starting in place of Sergio Busquets for the Catalan derby and given a rest in midweek while Barcelona's captain took on the third-tier minnows, this may mark the year that De Jong replaces Busquets at the base of midfield.

CM: Pedri - Despite making his Barcelona debut in 2020, Pedri has already been dubbed the signing of the decade by Spanish publication Marca.

RW: Raphinha - The Brazilian has gone from sneaking into Ronaldinho's birthday parties as a starstruck child to forming a friendship with his idol who 'even watches my games and says that he admires the way I play', according to Raphinha.

ST: Ferran Torres - Tasked with filling the boots of Robert Lewandowski - a player responsible for 38% of Barcelona's league goals this season.

LW: Ousmane Dembele - Despite scoring on his first trip to the Metropolitano, Dembele is yet to end on the winning side against Atletico.