With a mostly healthy and suspension-free squad, Barcelona carries the only perfect record in all of Spanish Primera into their clash with upstart Celta Vigo Wednesday at Balaidos.
The Catalans are fresh off a 4-1 thumping of Levante, during which Lionel Messi recorded two of his three goals on the season, even with stars Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, and Jordi Alba on the sidelines.
Iniesta and Suarez are expected to return to Luis Enrique’s lineup, and so is defender Gerard Pique after serving his four-matches suspension. However, Alba will be replaced by Douglas after experiencing neck soreness during training, according to the team’s official site.
The latest victory puts the defending league champs in second place on the table behind Atletico Madrid, who’ve played five matches and scored nine goals to Barcelona’s four games and eight scores.
But last season, Celta and manager Eduardo Berizzo actually split their two matches with a Catalans squad that went on to claim a mystifying treble and they too are enjoying early success.
Behind leading scorer and forward Nolito’s four goals, Celta’s picked up three wins in their first four matches including last week’s impressive 2-1 victory on Sevilla’s pitch.
With 10 points and in fifth place, Celta stands to jump ahead of Barcelona and Real Madrid should they pull off the victory, something Enrique doesn’t believe is a far-fetched possibility.
"Celta are one of the most entertaining teams to watch, not just in Spain but in Europe," Enrique said to Marca. "This is an extremely complicated game for us because of the characteristics of our opponents and Celta's current form.
"It's a very attractive game and a very interesting one for us."
Still, Celta will miss starting left back Jonny after he picked up a red card and one-match ban for some rough play against Sevilla. Berizzo could instead turn to Fontas or Carles Planas.
The matchup will not be televised, but is available online.
Kickoff Time: 2 p.m. ET
Live Online: beIN Sports Connect