Espanyol will host Catalan rivals Barcelona in the first leg of the 2018 Copa del Rey quarter-final at the RCDE Stadium on Wednesday. The two are separated by 13 places in La Liga's standings, and leaders Barca won the last meeting 5-0 at the Camp Nou back in September.
The Blaugrana have also won this competition in each of the last three seasons. Manager Ernesto Valverde has the squad depth to field a strong starting XI but will be without £142 million signing Philippe Coutinho, while Ousmane Dembele is injured again and Andres Iniesta is a doubt.
Here are the schedule and viewing details before a preview:
Date: Wednesday, January 17
Time: 8 p.m. GMT/3 p.m. ET
TV Info: beIN Sports.
Live Stream: beIN Sports CONNECT.
Valverde adopted, not for the first time this season, a 4-4-2 formation for the second leg. The traditional structure allows Messi and Suarez to both operate centrally.
Playing both again would tax a suspect Espanyol defence breached 21 times in the Spanish top flight.
Forward Ousmane Dembele returned from injury for the win over Celta, but the Frenchman suffered a hamstring problem as Barca beat Real Sociedad 4-2 in La Liga on Sunday, per the club (h/t Reuters, via Sky Sports).
His pace and skill can stretch teams in wide areas, qualities the Blaugrana have missed.
One new face who won't be involved is Coutinho, who will be out nearly three weeks as he recovers from a thigh injury, per Andrew Richardson of The Sun. Valverde's creative options look thin with Iniesta a doubt due to a calf injury, according to Sport.
Barcelona have a new recruit at the back, following the arrival of Yerry Mina. The Colombian central defender joined in a deal worth €11.8 million (£10.44 million). The first leg of a tricky cup tie may be the ideal moment for Valverde to get Javier Mascherano's replacement up to speed.
Espanyol have the attackers to test out Barca's defensive resolve. In particular, Gerard Moreno is an intelligent striker who comes alive in the box, while Leo Baptistao has the pace to get in behind.
Both players scored in the last round to help erase a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Levante.
Given the derby atmosphere, Espanyol must make the most of playing the first leg at home against their illustrious neighbours. If Valverde refreshes his team, a shock could be on the cards, ahead of the return match on Thursday, January 25.