• Bale to return to training on Thursday following calf injury
• Benzema expected back on Sunday prior to Tuesday’s clash in Turin
The European champions, Real Madrid, are likely to have Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema back for next week’s Champions League semi-final first leg at Juventus.
Bale has been sidelined by a calf injury for just over a week, while Benzema has not featured since picking up a knee injury in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Atlético Madrid on 14 April.
Carlo Ancelotti, whose side host relegation-threatened Almeria in La Liga on Wednesday, said Bale is due to return to training with his team-mates on Thursday and Karim Benzema would probably join them on Sunday.
Their return will boost Real for what Ancelotti called a “life and death” couple of weeks, during which they also play at Sevilla and host Valencia in La Liga.
Real could find themselves five points behind Barça when they face Almeria, with the leaders hosting Getafe on Tuesday.
Barcelona have 81 points with five games left, with Real on 79, seven ahead of the champions Atlético, who play at Villarreal on Wednesday.
“It’s a time of the season when all the games are life and death for every team,” Ancelotti, a former Juve coach, said. “We have to prepare this match [against Almeria] bearing in mind that it comes before a very difficult and very demanding run of games.
“We have a tough calendar, the matches are very, very difficult. But we have confidence we can play well because the team is in good shape, it’s fresh and can compete in all the games. We are not thinking about whether Barça will slip up, we just have to focus on the matches we have.”
Javier Hernández, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester United, has been in impressive form in the absence of Bale and Benzema, but he is set to drop back to the bench once they are fit. Ancelotti said he would discuss the issue of making Hernández’s loan move permanent with Real officials at the end of the season.