Copa Del Rey Final Preview: FC Barcelona Versus Athletic Bilbao Team News And Lineup

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Lionel Messi leads the line for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao

A FC Barcelona led by Lionel Messi will attempt to beat Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey final.

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FC Barcelona will look to extend their haul of Copa del Rey trophies to 31 by beating their nearest rivals in this respect, Athletic Bilbao, in a final played in Seville on Saturday night.

The Basques trail them on 23 titles, and have just lost the rescheduled 2019/2020 final to bitter rivals Real Sociedad a fortnight ago.

Yet they will take courage from bettering Barca in the Supercup decider three months ago to this day, when an Asier Villalibre equalizer made it 2-2 in the 90th minute and Inaki Williams then found a winner in extra time.

The Catalans have vastly improved since then, by embarking on a 19-game unbeaten run in La Liga that almost took them to the summit until they fell to Real Madrid in El Clasico last weekend.

The instigator of that turnaround - head coach Ronald Koeman - may be singing for his supper, though, as it is felt that failing to end a two-year trophy drought at the club could force new president Joan Laporta to seek a replacement at the end of the current campaign.

Probed on the matter at his prematch press conference yesterday, the Dutchman tried to keep cool but was clearly irked.

“It's a little bit strange that I need to answer these types of questions because we had a run of 19 games without losing," Koeman said.

“We're losing one game and I already need to talk about my future? Maybe I need to accept this. I have one more year of contract. I know it's a big pressure and I can handle that but sometimes it's a little bit strange,” he stressed.

“I've spoken with the president and he's shown confidence in me. I don't think that every time something is written about a coach the president should have to give him a vote of confidence,” it was concluded.

FC Barcelona will line up as such against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final.

FC Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey final


With just hours to spare until kickoff, SPORT claim that Koeman will go for the 3-5-2 that had served him well until the Real Madrid blip, despite training with a 4-3-3 throughout the week.

In the latter formation, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will start in goal protected by a back line of Jordi Alba, Clement Lenglet , Gerard Pique and Oscar Mingueza.

Sergio Busquets will provide pivot support to Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, while up front, Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann and captain Messi form an attacking trio.

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