FC Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has been hit with a fresh injury blow after it was reported that his striker Robert Lewandowski will be out for two weeks.
The Pole finished the Blaugrana’s shock 1-0 loss to Almeria with discomfort according to Relevo, and will therefore miss Thursday’s essential Copa del Rey semi-final first leg clash against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Shortly after reports spread, the club confirmed that Lewandowski had suffered a “left hamstring strain” with recovery determining his availability.
Xavi will also be without his playmaker Pedri and previously best in-form winger Ousmane Dembele going into the mentioned tie, which could have an impact on his managerial future given a slump in results recently.
As is the case with the duo, it is possible that Lewandowski only returns to action for another instalment of El Clasico set to be played in La Liga at Camp Nou on March 19.
Lewandowski will therefore be unavailable for Sunday’s meeting with Valencia in the Spanish top flight and an away trip to San Mames where Barca will take on Athletic Club.
The 34-year-old was signed for a fee of €45mn ($47.5mn) from Bayern Munich in July last year and took little time adapting to life in Blaugrana while swiftly becoming a fan favorite with his strikes.
Though currently leading the race for the Pichichi awarded to La Liga’s highest scorer on 15 goals – ahead of Madrid’s Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema – Lewandowski hasn’t been the same since the World Cup.
Mustering just two goals in five La Liga appearances, which is a poor return by his lofty standards, he could perhaps do with a rest that his time on the sidelines will bring.
In his absence, Ansu Fati or Ferran Torres could step in as the team’s striker which should also benefit either man if Xavi reverts to a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 which requires a left winger too.
As part of the four man midfield system, however, there is only room for one pure wideman which has often been Raphinha on the right flank with Dembele nursing his own thigh knock.