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Ousmane Dembele Back in Barcelona Training Ahead of UCL Manchester United Clash

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 13: Ousmane Dembele of Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Barcelona and Olympique Lyonnais at Nou Camp on March 13, 2019 in Barcelona, . (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele returned to training on Monday following his recent injury layoff. 

The Blaugrana posted the following snaps of their session, as they build up to their UEFA Champions League showdown with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday:

FC Barcelona @FCBarcelona_es

💪⚽ Vuelta a los entrenamientos de los jugadores disponibles del primer equipo en el campo Tito Vilanova. Trabajo de recuperación post partido. También entrenan Iñaki Peña, Morer y Abel Ruiz del @FCBarcelonaB. 🔵🔴 #ForçaBarça https://t.co/8ySJCEDl1I

As Football Espana relayed, the France international was back among the group:

footballespana @footballespana_

Dembele back in training for #FCBarcelona ahead of #MUFC clash this week. https://t.co/HtwNH3Xu9D

Dembele has not played for Barcelona since March 16, having suffered a thigh strain. However, it appears as though he is ready to play some part in what is one of the Blaugrana's biggest games of the season.

Having struggled to find form and fitness in his debut campaign, in 2018-19 Dembele has settled into life with the La Liga side and excelled.

Operating on either flank, he offers defenders a constant headache. The winger uses his speed and skill to put full-backs on the back foot, and when he gets into dangerous areas his end product is improving.

When compared to players of a similar age, the 21-year-old has been one of the most productive players in La Liga this season, with eight goals and four assists registered in the Spanish top flight:

Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl

Most goals and assists in La Liga this season by players born in 1997 or later: 13 • 🇪🇸 Brais Méndez 12 • 🇫🇷 Ousmane Dembélé 12 • 🇪🇸 Mikel Oyarzabal 10 • 🇲🇦 Youssef En-Nesyri 07 • 🇨🇴 Cucho Hernández 06 • 🇳🇬 Samuel Chukwueze 06 • 🇪🇸 Óscar Rodríguez Cracks. https://t.co/MUyFvpJE80

Having Dembele available from the start or the bench would be a huge boost for Barcelona as they gear up for the first leg of their quarter-final clash.

In addition to the Frenchman, manager Ernesto Valverde has plenty of firepower to call upon, with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi enjoying inspired runs of form at the moment. ESPN FC summed up how effective that duo has been:

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Messi and Suarez have scored more La Liga goals this season than 18 of the 19 teams they have faced 🔥 https://t.co/shB13XgXhA

They were both on the scoresheet on Saturday, as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 to move 11 points clear at the summit of La Liga:

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| GOAL! | Luis Suarez, take a bow! 🎯 A goal worthy of winning this match for Barcelona! https://t.co/BeoQQb0AFn

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| GOAL! | Two in two minutes for Barcelona! And obviously, it's Lionel Messi who gets on the scoresheet... #BarcaAtleti https://t.co/SAN3CbQnVW

If Barcelona are going to get through this tie and eventually win the Champions League, it's imperative Suarez and Messi get strong support.

With Philippe Coutinho struggling for consistency this season, the man who appears best placed to provide that is Dembele. Blaugrana supporters will be hoping he's ready to have an impact in the remaining weeks of the season when he's fully recovered from his layoff.

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