Preview: Barcelona - AC Milan

The Blaugrana need a win at home to ensure progression after a 0-0 draw in the first leg at San Siro last week that featured a fine defensive performance from the Rossoneri

With this Champions League tie finely balanced, Barcelona rested several players in the 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday night, but Carles Puyol is set to return to the starting XI against AC Milan with the Catalan captain in line to partner Gerard Pique in defence.

Xavi also sat out of the game at the weekend and is struggling with a muscular problem which means if he is not passed fit, Thiago could hold on to his midfield role. Defender Eric Abidal and striker David Villa, meanwhile, remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.

Left-back Adriano also made his comeback from injury against Athletic and is expected to feature while coach Pep Guardiola confirmed that playmaker Cesc Fabregas is available again after recovering from a back problem. The former Arsenal star is competing for a spot upfront with Pedro alongside Lionel Messi, who was denied by the Rossoneri defence in the first leg, and Alexis Sanchez.

Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri was hoping to have combative midfielder Mark van Bommel available for selection after he was suspended for the first leg, but the 34-year-old was not included in the 23-man squad due to injury so Massimo Ambrosini should once again feature.

Thiago Silva is still out due to a flexor muscle issue, so veteran Alessandro Nesta will again be in at centre-back following his impressive showing at San Siro last week.

A boost for the Rossoneri is that Alexandre Pato, who scored during the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou in the group stage, received treatment in the USA for his persistent muscle problems and has been selected for the match squad. The Brazilian is reportedly ready to feature, though it may be as a substitute with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho looking likely to lead the line once again.

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