Ace Football previews the Spanish Super Cup final between FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, and offers betting tips, odds, line-ups, and team news.
2015 finalists FC Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao meet in Seville for another Spanish Super Cup final clash on Sunday night.
Both sides booked passage into the final following narrow yet surprising victories in the semi-finals. Athletic, for one, knocked out Real Madrid by beating the cup holders 2-1, while Barcelona needed penalties to avoid a similar upset against Real Sociedad.
The two clubs have also been evenly matched in the past, having claimed two wins each in their last six meetings across all competitions. Of course, Barcelona won last time out 3-2 on January 6 following a Lionel Messi masterclass. It was Athletic, however, who the 2015 Super Cup final 5-1 on aggregate.
And as their skipper is still doubtful for the showdown, can the Blaugrana pull off another victory? Whether Leo plays could prove a game-changer in what is expected to be another close affair.
FC Barcelona Form & Stats
Anything less than a 14th Spanish Super Cup title on Sunday is unacceptable for Barcelona. Real Madrid’s surprise elimination has made them favorites, piling the pressure on the Catalan club to deliver.
Their semi-final encounter with Real Sociedad, meanwhile, was finely balanced. The Basque side pushed them hard, but Barcelona withstood the pressure with Sergio Busquets and Ronald Araujo impressing. Marc Andre ter Stegen also lived up to his billing as one of the best goalkeepers by making six saves in the match before stopping two penalties in the shootout victory.
The triumph also extended Barcelona’s unbeaten run to nine games unbeaten in all competitions. Things appear to have gradually improved for Ronald Koeman, who can win his first major honor as manager on Sunday.
Lionel Messi, meanwhile, has resumed training after suffering muscular problems and has reportedly decided to play in the final.
Key Team Stats
- Won their last 4 games in all competitions.
- Won their last 5 away games in all competitions and kept 3 clean sheets.
- Unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions (W7 D2).
- Won the Spanish Super Cup title a record 13 times.
- Lionel Messi has made 37 goal contributions in 34 games against Athletic Club Bilbao (26 goals, 11 assists).
Athletic Bilbao Form & Stats
Marcelino has had an eventful first two games in charge of Athletic. The new manager lost 3-2 on his debut against Barcelona before pulling off a shock 2-1 victory over Real Madrid in Malaga last week. Now, in only his 13th day in the dugout, he can win the second major honor of his coaching career.
Athletic, of course, have won the Spanish Super Cup twice previously. Their last triumph came in 2015 and the squad tend to perform well against Barcelona, having only lost two of their previous six meeting (W2 D2). And considering the clubs are on neutral ground in Seville, Marcelino’s side can cause another upset.
The Lions also memorably defeated Barcelona over a two-legged tie in the 2015 Super Cup final by a 5-1 aggregate scoreline. Their league form, however, has been disappointing. The club sit 12th in the standings and have already lost nine of their 18 games (W6 D3).
Key Team Stats
- Won 2 of their last 5 games in all competitions (D1 L2).
- Marcelino has beaten Barcelona once in 22 attempts as a manager (D6 L15).
- Lost just 2 of their last 6 games against Barcelona in all competitions (W2 D2).
- Drawn 3 of their last 5 away games in all competitions (W1 L1).
Out: Gerard Pique, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati.
Doubts: Lionel Messi.
Out: Unai Lopez, Peru Nolaskoain.
Doubts: Yuri Berchiche.
(Note: The image will change to the official XI once they’re both announced)
Top Goalscorers in La Liga
Head-To-Head Record (La Liga)
Below are some head-to-head stats on each team’s recent form in La Liga.