Ernesto Valverde’s side suffered a surprise defeat to Athletic Bilbao on the opening weekend, while Betis were also beaten in their home match against Real Valladolid.
Real Betis overcame Barcelona 4-3 on their last visit to the Camp Nou in November 2018, although the Catalan giants hit back with a 4-1 victory in the return fixture in March.
Barcelona have injury problems ahead of Sunday’s match. The club announced striker Luis Suarez picked up a calf problem against Athletic, while Ousmane Dembele has been ruled out for five weeks:
Captain Lionel Messi is yet to feature after picking up a calf injury in pre-season. He has returned to training but is likely to start on the bench, according to Javier Miguel at AS.
Messi scored five goals in two La Liga matches against Betis last season, including a hat-trick at the Benito Villamarin Stadium.
His third goal in the match has been nominated for the 2019 Puskas Award:Valverde may also have to cope without Rafinha. The club confirmed that the Brazilian missed training on Friday due to gastroenteritis.
The absences in attack mean that the focus is likely to fall on new signing Antoine Griezmann. Valverde could also hand a start to 21-year-old Carles Perez after a bright pre-season:Football writer Alexandra Jonson offered some background on the youngster:
Betis showed last season they can cause Barcelona all sorts of problems and have added to their attack over the summer by bringing in playmaker Nabil Fekir from Lyon and striker Borja Iglesias from Espanyol.Fekir has already demonstrated what he can bring to the team against Valladolid:
However, the club may have to cope without Iglesias. The striker suffered an ankle injury in Betis’ opener and is facing a battle to be fit in time, per Miguel A Moran at Marca.
Barcelona are favourites for the win on Sunday in their first home La Liga match of the season, and anything other than a victory will put pressure on Valverde after beginning their title defence with a loss.