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Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona: Supercopa de Espana Preview

Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona: Supercopa de Espana Preview

Barcelona continue their quest for a historical sextuple, and world football’s second in the entire history, where they meet another Spanish side Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de Espana final popularly known as Spanish Super Cup at the San Memes. It will be the fourth meeting between the two teams in this competition with the Catalans having won in all three of their previous ties.

Barcelona hold 15 Supercopas (if we include its predecessor). This will be the 2nd official match for the Catalans and the first shot at their 5th trophy of 2015. They won the UEFA Super Cup against Spanish side Sevilla in a thrilling encounter that finished 5-4. For Bilbao, it’s their 3rd official match having started their UEFA Europa League third round playoff match.

The first match will be played at the New San Mamés. If we include their overall form, both teams have had mixed preseason fortunes with a few wins and few defeats. Bilbao have suffered 3 defeats, 3 draws and a single win in their preseason but won their playoff match tie 2-0 on aggregate (win and draw).

Lionel Messi will be the biggest threat from the Catalans side
Lionel Messi will be the biggest threat from the Catalans side

Barcelona have 2 wins, 2 defeats and 1 draw in their pre-season but won their only official match of the season so far. Barcelona are without an injured Alba and Douglas and Iniesta did limp out injured against sevilla and is a doubt, while Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal are ineligible. Neymar is also unavailable due to illness. Its interesting to see Barcelona include Pedro who seems set to leave the club despite scoring the winning goal.

Bilbao are without Mikel Rico, Ander Iturraspe, Inaki Williams and their most highly rated player, Iker Muniain. The plus side will be the arrival of Kike Sola who has been declared fit to support Aduriz in the attack.

Artiz Aduriz will be leading the Bilbao attack
Artiz Aduriz will be leading the Bilbao attack

Bilbao will have their work cut out in the defence. They will have to slog hard to get hold of Messi and Suarez (even without a third of the MSN strikeforce, Barcelona cannot be underestimated). Messi has shown his set-play prowess in the Super Cup and his performances over the year have shown he will not only be the goal scorer, but will be the provider.

Bilbao can however exploit the currently shaky Barcelona defence. Barcelona’s offence saved them from disaster in the Super Cup as they conceded 3 goals in the final half hour. The likes of Aduriz can easily exploit this weakness. Bilbao have beaten Barcelona once in their new stadium and will be hoping to ride on their very vocal fans to hold, if not beat the Catalan giants.

Barcelona will have to get their vital away goal if they are not able to win. Given the second leg and power of their attack they will be taking their 4th Spanish Super cup against Bilbao.

Past History

Head to head, the two teams have faced each other 51 times with Barcelona winning 33 of them with 7 wins to Bilbao and 11 draws.

Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao met recently in the Copa del Rey final. Lionel Messi scored two goals out of which one was a memorable solo goal worthy of winning the Puskas award. Barcelona won that match 3-1 to conquer their second trophy of the season. Earlier in the La Liga Barca won 5-2 in the away leg and

This particular match-up is a repeat of the 2009 encounter between the two teams  in exactly the same circumstances back in 2009 and it was Barca that claimed the trophy with a one sided 5-1 aggregate score.

They also clashed in this competition back in 1983, with Barcelona again edging out the Basque country club 3-2 on aggregate.

Match Details

Date: Friday, August 14

Time: 01:30 a.m. IST

Venue: San Mames, Bilbao

Where to Watch:  fcbarcelona.com.  No channel in India will be broadcasting this match.

Predicted Lineups

Barcelona(4-3-3) :  Ter Stegen , Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Pedro, Luis Suárez, Lionel Messi

Athletic (4-2-3-1): Iraizoz; de Marcos, Laporte, Etxeita, Balenziaga; Gurpegi, San Jose; Susaeta, Benat, Eraso; Aduriz

Match Prediction

Bilbao will give a tough time to Barcelona and it should be a low scoring match but Messi’s extra-terrestrial form should see the Catalans edge out their opponents.

2-1 win for Barcelona

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