Thomas Vermaelen has been named in Barcelona’s 18-man squad which will face-off against Bayern Munich later today at the Camp Nou.
Ten days ago, the Belgian defender was given the “all-clear” by the medical staff to resume first team action but has yet to feature in any of the club’s fixtures.
Vermaelen was signed from Arsenal for a reported £15 million last summer, but was almost immediately sidelined with a serious hamstring injury. The club eventually decided to have the defender go under the knife in December in a bid to finally put an end to his ordeal.
After the operation, it was thought Vermaelen would be out of action for four to five months. So a return on Tuesday is well within the doctor’s timeline.
The Belgian returned to training in late March and had been rumored to be close to a return. However, the club has taken an extremely cautious approach with their investment and not rushed the defender back into the squad.
Vermaelen was likely added to today’s squad due to the omission of centre-back Jeremy Mathieu, who was ruled out on Monday with an Achilles injury.
It has not been determined if Mathieu will miss the club’s next league match against Real Sociedad, or if he will be sidelined for next week’s Champions League semi-final return leg at the Allianz Arena.
Fortunately for Barcelona, Jordi Alba resumed training on Monday and took part in a session with the rest of the squad earlier today.
The expectation is Alba will replace Mathieu in Luis Enrique’s starting eleven on Wednesday, with the manager electing for a back-four compromising of Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Alba.
Barcelona’s 18-man squad for today’s Champions League semi-final first leg is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Ter Stegen, Bravo
Defenders: Dani Alves, Adriano, Alba, Pique, Bartra, Mascherano and Vermaelen.
Midfielders: Sergio, Xavi, Iniesta, Rakitic and Rafinha.
Forwards: Pedro, Neymar, Suarez and Messi.
Programming note: Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich will be shown LIVE today starting at 2:45pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.
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