Gerard Pique

Barcelona know that if they can win against Osasuna on Tuesday night, they will be no more than a point off top spot in La Liga going into the break for the World Cup – if Real Madrid drop points, they will lead the league.

Visiting El Sadar will be no easy task though, as Los Blancos have already found out at home. Los Rojillo secured a valiant point at the Santiago Bernabeu, the first time that Real Madrid had not won a game all season.

Xavi Hernandez may well be missing a key cog in his defence though. Jules Kounde is still dealing with a thigh strain that he suffered against Valencia and is a doubt for Pamplona, as per Diario AS. His injury has already kept him out of matches against Viktoria Plzen and Almeria.

Whether the French defender will want to risk his fitness in the knowledge that exacerbating the problem could mean the end of his World Cup probably weighs in too.

Currently Xavi has three central defenders available, Eric Garcia, the recovering Andreas Christensen and the retiring Gerard Pique, for whom it will be his final game. Equally against Almeria, Xavi preferred to use Marcos Alonso in the middle.

Against the likes of Ante Budimir, Kike Garcia and Chimy Avila, Barcelona’s defence will face a stern test of their physicality and their willingness to battle.

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