Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez faces injury crisis for Shakhtar Donetsk clash

Barcelona's Xavi Hernandez faces injury crisis for Shakhtar Donetsk clash

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is treading cautiously as he navigates a minefield of injuries within his squad.

With a packed schedule in the final two months of the year, any setback could prove catastrophic. It appears that, barring a miraculous turn of events, none of the injured players will be available for the upcoming Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

Today (Monday), none of the injured players trained, and they didn't even participate in the post-Athletic Bilbao recovery session.

According to sources at SPORT, it's highly unlikely that any of the six players in the medical bay will make a swift return. The situation becomes even more pressing when you consider the looming Clasico.

One silver lining is the steady progress of Pedri, who is gradually regaining his fitness. However, Xavi is adamant that there will be no rush in his return, emphasizing that the player's feelings and the advice of medical professionals will be the final deciders. Raphinha is another player on the brink of returning, but the Clasico appears to be the target date for his comeback.

Robert Lewandowski's return is looking increasingly doubtful as time runs out. Frenkie de Jong and Jules Kounde are almost certainly ruled out. Sergi Roberto is also unavailable.

Speculation had arisen that some of the injured players might make a brief appearance against the Ukrainian side, hoping to gain some match fitness ahead of the crucial Clasico on Sunday. However, it now seems improbable that Raphinha, for instance, will join the training group tomorrow and be included in the Shakhtar matchday squad.

Consequently, Xavi is left with no choice but to make do with the resources at his disposal. His squad selection for Shakhtar is expected to closely resemble that of the previous encounter against Athletic Bilbao, with one exception.

Unai Hernandez cannot be registered for the Champions League as he has been with the club for less than two years, which is a mandatory requirement for inclusion in the A-list.

However, players like Hector Fort and Marc Guiu are eligible for registration. It's also anticipated that Marc Casado, who is already on the list, will be included.

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