Countdown to Berlin

Berlin olympiastadionThe 3-1 victory over Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey completed Barça sixth domestic league and cup double (1952, 1953, 1959, 1998, 2009 and 2015) and now there are just five days to go before the Champions League Final in Berlin where a victory over Juventus will see Barça become the first side ever to complete a second Copa, Liga and Champions triplete to go with the one achieved in 2009 in Pep Guardiola’s first season.

The performance against Athletic demonstrated that Luis Enrique has his team in excellent shape. The forward line looks unstoppable with Messi (54), Neymar (38) and Luis Suárez (24) totalling an incredible 120 goals between them which surpasses the previous record for an attacking trio of 118 scored by Ronaldo, Higuaian and Benzema for Real Madrid in 2011/12.

There is no doubt that if Andrés Iniesta recovers from his calf strain that Barça will face Juventus with the same XI that beat Athletic of Ter Stegen, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Suárez and Neymar. The news on Iniesta is quietly optimistic and it might be expected that he will play even if it means a slight risk to further injury. In 2009 Iniesta wasn’t fully recovered to face Manchester United in Rome but he completed a splendid performance. If the midfielder doesn’t make it in time then Xavi will get to play his 767th and final game for Barça from the start.

It is still possible to get tickets to see Messi and the boys on Saturday. Everything looks in Barça’s favour to put the cherry on the cake of a magnificent season. Of course, anything can happen over 90 minutes on the field of play, but Barça are looking extremely strong. Juventus will most probably provide a more difficult test than Athletic for Luis Enrique’s men but Barça’s experience and remarkable talent seem likely to prove too much for the Italians.

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