Barcelona will lock horns with Sevilla at the Camp Nou in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Saturday evening as the reigning La Liga champions look to overturn a 3-1 reverse.
The Blaugrana fielded a largely second-string side in the first leg last week, but for the first time in pre-season, coach Pep Guardiola will have a full strength squad at his disposal as eight of Barca’s stars who featured in Spain’s triumphant 2010 World Cup campaign return to full match fitness.
But it is Argentine Lionel Messi that Guardiola will turn to to spark a comeback and according to AS, the World Player of the Year is expected to start after only coming on as a 53rd substitute in the first leg for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Big Swede is also likely to make the starting line-up, although AS believes that it will be more of a last chance for the giant striker to convince the club and the coaching staff after Guardiola declined to elaborate on his future when he was queried yesterday during the pre-match press conference. Maxwell, one of those who shone for Barca in the first leg, will also reportedly keep his place in the first XI.
Sevilla will hoping to bounce back from their disappointing 1-0 loss to Braga in the first leg of the Champions League play-off in midweek. The Andalucians landed in Catalunya yesterday as they look for their second piece of silverware under coach Antonio Alvarez following their Copa del Rey triumph at the Camp Nou last season.
Los Nervionenses are expected to start with Italian midfielder Luca Cigarini, on loan from Napoli, for the first time to partner Didier Zokora with Diego Perotti and Jesus Navas to start out on the wings.
The match will kick-off at 20:30 CET.