Barcelona received some bad news prior to their Copa del Rey debut against Intercity. Robert Lewandowski, who was rested for the match, will have to serve a three-game suspension.
Barcelona’s attempt to get the ban reduced has failed with the ruling going against them. The ban sees the Polish striker miss the games against Atletico de Madrid, Getafe and Girona. Two of those matches — against Atletico de Madrid and Girona — are on the road.
Lewandowski was sent off in the final game before the World Cup break against Osasuna. He made some gestures as he was leaving the pitch that the referee noted in his match report, which contributed to the length of the suspension.
He was supposed to serve the ban starting with the Catalan Derby against Espanyol. But he was allowed to play pending a ruling as to whether or not his ban would be reduced. Unsurprisingly, Espanyol were unhappy with this development and made it known.
Despite his involvement, Barcelona were held to a draw after initially taking the lead. They were unable to take advantage of their superiority and finish the game off.
The inability to put an opponent away has been a constant struggle for Xavi Hernandez’s side — even with Lewandowski present.
The match also demonstrated how dependent Barcelona is on the former Bayern Munich striker. They’ve more or less shaped their attack to get a cross to Lewandowski and have him take care of the rest.
Without him for the next three games, Xavi will need to find a replacement who can put their chances away or hope one of his wingers can find some form until Lewandowski gets back.
Some of those forwards will get their chance to stake their claim to be the one to take over for Lewandowski in the match against Intercity.