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Barcelona vs Espanyol, La Liga Team News: Claudio Bravo out, Mathieu doubtful

David Ramos/Getty Images

As Barcelona prepare for what could be the title decider this weekend, they'll miss a key player.

Coach Luis Enrique will be without his league goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to face Espanyol at Camp Nou. The Chilean injured his calf in Barça's win against Real Betis last week, and was replaced by Marc-André ter Stegen late in the second half. There was hope for Bravo to recover and come back in time for the Catalan Derby, but he's out.

Ter Stegen will get a start, and he'll likely be the number one keeper for the final three games of the campaign, including the last La Liga match against Granada and the Copa del Rey Final against Sevilla in two weeks, meaning Bravo is potentially out for the season.

As Bravo's absence is certain, one player could return after a long injury layoff. Defender Jérémy Mathieu has missed the last two months of action because of a knee injury. He took a risk and underwent surgery, removing his torn meniscus completely and cutting down his recovery period. Mathieu was supposed to be out for five months, but he only needed two and might be back to the Barça lineup in time to make a case to be in the France squad for the Euros in the summer.

Mathieu is unlikely to get his medical green light this weekend, but count on his return in the upcoming games.

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