Robert Lewandowski To Return And Start Against Athletic Bilbao

Robert Lewandowski is set to return to action for FC Barcelona by starting against Athletic Club in Bilbao on Sunday.

The Pole was revealed to be injured following his last appearance, which was a shock 1-0 defeat away at Almeira.

After Barca lost their first league match since an October edition of El Clasico against Real Madrid, tests carried out showed that the former Bayern Munich man had suffered a left thigh knock.

Given their own thigh issues that have kept them sidelined, this meant that head coach Xavi has been left without his star striker in Lewandowski plus playmaker Pedri and winger Ousmane Dembele.

The trio were believed to be on their way back to playing in a March 19 meeting with Madrid at Camp Nou which could well decide the La Liga title race.

In recent days, however, reports have suggested that Pedri could make a 20-25 minute cameo in San Mames while Dembele’s recovery is progressing slower than expected.

While the Frenchman has been ruled out of the Athletic Club clash on Sunday and is now doubtful for El Clasico, SPORT claims that Lewandowski will start at the weekend in what will be a welcomed boost to Xavi Hernandez.

Lewandowski’s absence has highlighted the need for back-up to the 34-year-old, with negotiations for the potential €40 million ($42 million) capture of Brazilian teenager Vitor Roque said to be advancing well with his club Athletico Paranaense.

Xavi has tried Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati as his number ‘9’ with mixed results, as Barca mustered 1-0 wins in the Copa del Rey and La Liga where an own goal and sole strike from Raphinha settled the score.

As a consequence of their continued poor form, Fati and Torres could possibly be sold in the summer as the club attempts to wipe €200 million ($210 million) from the wage bill on the orders of La Liga chief Javier Tebas.

Until then, though, Lewandowski will be key in Barca’s push for a domestic treble after he helped them seal the Spanish Super Cup in January with a goal in the roaring 3-1 final win over Madrid in Riyadh.