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Copa del Rey

  • May 25, 2012
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid
  • Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan
  • • Attendance: 54850

Athletic Bilbao - Barcelona Preview: Catalans seek Copa del Rey success in Guardiola's final match

Athletic Bilbao - Barcelona Preview: Catalans seek Copa del Rey success in Guardiola's final match

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The Blaugrana are out to salvage a disappointing end to their season by lifting the Copa del Rey, while the Basques look to rebound from their bitter defeat in the Europa League



Iraola, Martinez, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe
De Marcos, Iturraspe, Herrera
Susaeta, Llorente, Muniain

Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Fabregas, Messi, Alexis

Athletic Bilbao have no injury concerns heading into Friday's cup final with Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon.

Midfielder Ander Iturraspe is expected to start despite missing training earlier in the week with a virus.

Barca boss Pep Guardiola will have to make a number of changes in defence with Dani Alves, Carles Puyol, Eric Abidal and Andreu Fontas all out, while striker David Villa will not recover from his broken leg in time.

Young defender Martin Montoya should fill in for Dani Alves at right-back, with Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano taking the centre-back slots.

  • Athletic Bilbao are on a five-game winless streak in all competitions and have failed to register on the scoresheet in all of those matches.
  • The Basque side are the second-most successful club in Copa del Rey history with 23 triumphs, but have not tasted cup success since 1984.
  • The San Mames outfit have contested six previous Copa finals against Barcelona, with the Catalans notching four wins to Athletic's two.
  • Los Ledones, who finished 10th in La Liga, have already secured at least a qualifying-round spot in the Europa League. If they win the Copa, they will go straight into the group stage.
  • Barcelona are on a five-game unbeaten run in all competitions (W3, D2).
  • The Blaugrana are the most successful side in Copa del Rey history with 25 wins.
  • The Catalans beat their final opponents 2-0 at home in the league in April and drew 2-2 at San Mames last November.
  • A Barca victory will hand Pep Guardiola a 14th title from his four-year spell in charge of the club.

Players to watch


Position: Attacker

Games: 3

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The 19-year-old has terrorised defences throughout the season but will want to produce a better performance than in the Europa League final in Bucharest, where he struggled to get into the game. With David Villa missing Euro 2012 through injury, Muniain will want to make an impression on national team boss Vicente del Bosque and secure his berth in the Spain squad travelling to next month's tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 6

  • 4
  • 2
  • 0
The Argentine star netted 50 league goals en route to securing the European Golden Boot and his tally of 72 goals in all competitions broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record for most goals scored by any player in a single European top-flight campaign. But as good as he has been, Barca will need to take some pressure off Messi's shoulders and spread the goals among the team more in the future.

Editor's Prediction

A two-week rest at the end of a gruelling La Liga season will stand Athletic in good stead after they appeared to be on their last legs in the final weeks of the league campaign. However, while the Basques should provide a far better contest than in the Europa League final, Barca's passing carousel could leave them dizzy yet again.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Athletic Club



Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
Athletic Club Bilbao Athletic Club
FC Barcelona FCB
FC Barcelona Barcelona

Top 3 Predictions

Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
1 - 3
FC Barcelona FCB
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
2 - 1
FC Barcelona FCB
Athletic Club Bilbao ATH
0 - 3
FC Barcelona FCB