FC Barcelona

Barcelona predicted lineup vs Eintracht Frankfurt - Europa League

Grey Whitebloom
Xavi has overseen a significant turnaround in Barcelona's performances and points tally since taking over in November
Xavi has overseen a significant turnaround in Barcelona's performances and points tally since taking over in November / Angel Martinez/GettyImages

An in-form Barcelona travel to Germany to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals on Thursday evening.

Buoyed by their round of 16 victory over Real Betis, Frankfurt's Oliver Glasner offered the reductive argument for his side's success against the Catalans, reasoning: “To put it bluntly, if you get through against the fifth-placed team in Spain, you can also do it against the third-placed one."

Since Glasner aired his leaky logic, Barcelona have leapfrogged Sevilla into second place in La Liga, extending their unbeaten run to 13 games across all competitions on Sunday.

Here's the lineup Xavi may deploy to make it 14 on the spin.

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) - The most recent clean sheet Ter Stegen kept against Frankfurt came in a game won by a goal from Luuk de Jong for Borussia Monchengladbach eight years before the pair were reunited in Catalonia.

Ronald Araujo (RB) - With Dani Alves ineligible for the competition and Sergino Dest's fitness in doubt, Xavi may shift the fleet-footed Araujo out to right-back.

Gerard Pique (CB) - With just two goals - one in the Champions and Europa League - Pique is Barcelona's joint-top scorer in European competition this season.

Eric Garcia (CB) - The natural choice to plug the gap in Barcelona's rejigged defence also allows for Xavi to shift to three at the back if he wants to mirror Frankfurt's favoured formation.

Jordi Alba (LB) - The creator of nine goals across all competitions for Barcelona this season hasn't provided an assist in Europe's second-tier tournament since he had a hand in half the goals of Valencia's 4-0 win over AZ Alkmaar a decade ago.

2. Midfielders

Gavi (CM) - Barcelona's silk-lined ratter is the youngest player to be awarded a yellow card in the Europa League this season.

Sergio Busquets (CM) - After the midfielder's first few training session with the senior team, Lionel Messi surreptitiously urged Pep Guardiola to always put "Busi" on his side in practice games. Xavi has shown the same fierce loyalty to the club captain during his managerial reign thus far.

Pedri (CM) - The teenage wizard was rebuffed by Real Madrid as a youngster, making his soaring success at Barcelona that little bit sweeter.

3. Forwards

Adama Traore (RW) - Despite only making four appearances in the competition, Barcelona's on-loan agent of chaos has carried the ball into the penalty area more often than any other player in this season's Europa League (18 times per FBref).

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST) - Barcelona's winter arrival has scored a career-high ten goals against Frankfurt, including the winner in the 2017 DFB Pokal final for Borussia Dortmund.

Ousmane Dembele (LW) - Dembele was given a standing ovation on the weekend by the same crowd that fervently booed and hissed his every touch less than two months ago. Who said football fans were fickle?