Deportivo Alavés (8th, 46pts) vs FC Barcelona (1st, 77pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Monday
Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 34
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ivan Rakitic, Rafinha, Jean-Clair Todibo, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jeison Murillo (out)
Alavés Outs & Doubts: Burgui, Guillermo Maripán, Takashi Inui, Jonathan Calleri (out)
Date/Time: Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 9.30pm CET (Barcelona), 8.30pm GMT/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3.30pm ET, 12.30pm PT (USA), 1am IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: Estadio de Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain
Referee: Adrián Cordero Vega (another new guy!)
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA, Canada, Spain), Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA, Canada, Spain), others
Following a very tough, crucial victory over Real Sociedad at the weekend to avoid any possible trouble in the final matches of the season, Barcelona are now just six points away from winning La Liga with two more games to play this weekend. The math is simple: two wins and the title is clinched. A win and an Atlético Madrid loss also does the trick, which means Barça could be champions without playing on Wednesday if Atleti lose at home to Valencia.
Regardless of how this plays out, the only way Barça are definitely champions by the end of the week is with a win against Alavés on Tuesday. It won’t be easy, however: the Babazorros are one of the season’s most surprising teams, fighting for Europe all season and playing really good football at times. They have lost a bit of momentum, however, winless in their last five and losing some key players to injury down the stretch.
It seems like they’ll be in the top 8 at the end of the season, a fantastic accomplishment for the 2017 Copa del Rey finalists, and a win against the soon-to-be champions would be the perfect ending to a wonderful campaign. They will press high and love to create chances by forcing mistakes, and Barça have had issues with pressing teams lately.
Ernesto Valverde is also expected to rotate his team a little bit, which may hurt continuity and make this game a little less predictable. But Barça are really focused on winning the title before the Champions League semifinal, and a win at Alavés is a must. We’ll see if they can do it.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Vermaelen; Roberto, Busquets, Arthur; Dembélé, Messi, Coutinho
Alavés (4-3-3): Pacheco; Navarro, Laguardia, R. Ely, R. Duarte; Wakaso, T. Pina, Brasanac; Rolan, B. Bastón, Jony
It will be another hard-fought, grind-it-out affair like the Real Sociedad one, but with one more goal and a clean sheet for the champs this time: 3-0 Barça.