Spanish Super Cup final preview: Barcelona vs Athletic Club
Barcelona and Athletic Club gear up for a cracking Spanish Super Cup finale later tonight. With the first trophy of the 2020-21 season on offer, both clubs will be keen to give their absolute best and gain impetus. This is the second of the three meetings between the two teams in just 25 days. Ahead of the final, we present the preview.
Barcelona have won the trophy more times than any club (13). Real Madrid follow suit with 11 trophies. The Catalans have also participated more than anyone else (24 times). Barca last won the title in 2018, beating Sevilla. Athletic Club have won the Spanish Super Cup on two occasions. These two clubs have met thrice, with Barca winning two of those games.
Barca are set to be without the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto, and Gerard Pique. Lionel Messi could return after missing the semi-final with a hamstring issue. He trained on Saturday. As for Athletic, Unai Lopez and Peru Nolaskain remain unavailable for selection through injury. Meanwhile, Yuri Berchiche is still a doubt, meaning that Mikel Balenziaga should continue at left-back.
Barca have been on a fine run of late - unbeaten in eight successive games in La Liga. In the Super Cup semi-final, they were made two work hard by Real Sociedad before winning the game on penalties. Barca need to be clinical in the final third. Meanwhile, Athletic showed character against Real Madrid in the semis and will need a similar approach.
Barcelona predicted starting XI: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, De Jong; Griezmann, Pedri, Dembele; Messi. Athletic predicted starting XI: Simon; Capa, Nunez, Martinez, Balenziaga; De Marcos, Vencedor, D Garcia, Muniain; Williams, R Garcia. Dream11 team prediction (3-4-3): Ter Stegen; Capa, Balenzia, Alba; Lenglet, Pjanic, Garcia, Martinez; Messi (c), Garcia (vc), Dembele. Match prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Athletic Club.
Lionel Messi has hit 14 goals this season in all competitions. He needs one more to script a record of 15-plus goals in a season for the 15th successive season. If Barca win the trophy, it will be Messi's eighth Spanish Super Cup. Messi has 648 goals for Barca and a brace will see him register a special milestone of 650.