Dembele & Kounde cases difficult for Xavi to manage as France progress

Dembele & Kounde cases difficult for Xavi to manage as France progress

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The duo's World Cup run could rule them out of the derby vs. Espanyol this month

With France remaining in Qatar until the last weekend of the World Cup, Barcelona will have to wait for Jules Koundé and Ousmane Dembele to return to Xavi's orders.

Barça returned to training on Dec. 5 with just five players: Marcos Alonso, Sergi Roberto, Iñaki Peña and Héctor Bellerín. Franck Kessie and Ronald Araujo worked on the sidelines as they continued their recoveries from injuries.

On Monday, Marc Ter Stegen and Andreas Christensen are expected back in after exiting the World Cup at the group stage. They have since enjoyed over a week off.

Throughout the week, the Spain internationals and Robert Lewandowski are due back, too. Only two Barça players are still in contention in the Middle East, so Xavi has the 'tranquility' that he will have many days with almost the entire team available before Espanyol on Dec. 31.

Taking into account that Koundé and Dembélé will play either the third and fourth place playoff (Dec. 17) or the final (Dec. 18), they will not leave Qatar for another week.

Following some time off, they will then be due back with Barça around Dec. 26 or 27. That means that they will barely complete four sessions with the group before the derby against Espanyol -- the last game of the calendar year and the first after almost two months of inactivity.


With the Copa del Rey and the Super Cup just around the corner and a very busy schedule in January andFebruary, it is most likely that Xavi will not force the two players back into action after an intense World Cup.

Of course, we are talking about two starters for the Barça coach, though, so he will surely decide to put them on the bench. We will see.

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