Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona have a major shot at winning every possible tournament this season. The team also has a Champions League date with underwhelming AC Milan in February. They had their first loss of the season against Real Sociedad 3-2 but they still have a 15 point lead over rivals Real Madrid. For now though, Barcelona will concentrate its efforts on a Copa Del Rey Battle with Malaga.
The two teams met this past weekend in a 3-1 win for Barcelona. Messi scored his team's first goal before assisting on the other two tallies for Barça.
The Ballon d'Or winner now has a sensational 28 goals and eight assists on the season. He has scored two goals in 2013, but look for him to have an impressive match, if he plays. Messi and company are slated to play on Saturday and that may force the coaching staff to sit Messi. In last week's Copa Del Rey bout with Cordoba, Messi sat while David Villa and Alexis Sanchez dominated the second division squad in a resounding 5-0 win. They may be counted on to do the same in this match.
Meanwhile Malaga has had an impressive season with a group victory in the Champions league and a fifth place standing in the Spanish league.
The visitor will be without coach Tito Villanova as he receives more medical treatment in New York, but can call on all of its 25-man squad after Isaac Cuenca was given the green light to return to competitive action after a long period out with a knee injury.
After drawing against Malaga in the first leg of this fixture last week, the Blaugrana went on to surrender a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday which marked its first loss in the league this campaign.
Malaga, meanwhile, followed up on its impressive performance at Camp Nou with a 1-1 draw in the Liga at home to Celta Vigo.
The Andalusian side will be without Nacho Monreal after he was sent off in the first leg for a foul on Pedro. However, having exceeded expectations with a weakened side to draw 2-2 last week, it is likely that Pellegrini will recall the likes of Isco, Joaquin, Welligton and Martin Demichelis.
New loan signings Lucas Piazon from Chelsea and Diego Lugano from Paris Saint-Germain may also be included in Malaga's squad.
Probable Line-Ups and Recent Form
Malaga (4-4-2); L/W/W/W/L/L/D; Kameni (GK), Sanchez, Demichelis, Weligton, Gamez, Toulalan, Camacho, Joaquin, Isco, Eliseu, Santa Cruz
Barcelona (4-4-3); W/W/W/W/W/W/L Pinto (GK), Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas, Pedro, Messi, Iniesta
Where and When To Watch
Location: Estadio La Rosaleda (Málaga)
Check Local Times Here: http://www.livesoccertv.com/match/656707/malaga-vs-barcelona/
Barcelona 2-1 Malaga
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