Copa del Rey: why we must not miss the final between Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona

Barça Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona face off in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday April 17th.

Athletic Bilbao and FC Barcelona meet in the final of the 118th Copa del Rey, at 9:30 p.m., Saturday April 17, in Seville. Historical confrontation, desire for revenge … here is why you should not miss the match.

FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao are becoming the best enemies in the Spanish Cup final. Since the creation of this competition in 1903, the two clubs have faced each other eight times in the final and will cross swords a ninth time in Seville. A record since the most contested final poster until then was Bilbao – Real Madrid. With 30 titles for Barça and 23 for Athletic, the Copa del Rey final welcomes its two best subjects.

Out of eight finals between Athletic Club and Barça in this competition, six have been won by the Catalans. The last date of 2015 with a 3-1 victory for the Blaugrana. If we count the confrontations between the two clubs in all competitions, here again Barça leads the way in the number of victories with 28 games won in 44 confrontations, or 64% of success against the Basque club. Marcelino’s men will therefore try to reverse the trend and will be keen to win this 2020-21 edition of the Spanish Cup after losing to Real Sociedad in the final of the 2019-20 edition, played on 3 last April, due to the health crisis.

On January 17, the two teams were already face to face in a final, that of the Spanish Supercup. Led 2-1 until the 90th minute, the Rojiblancos managed to snatch extra time in the dying moments of the game before winning 3-2. During a stormy end of the match, Lionel Messi received the first red card of his career with the Catalan club. The Basques thus lifted the third Supercup in their history but also avoided a 14th Barcelona coronation. If the two clubs have already met since on the occasion of the 21st day of La Liga, on January 31 (2-1 victory for the Catalans), Barça will do everything to avoid another disappointment in the final.

A season without a title is not conceivable in a club like Barça. So two consecutive … Beaten on the lawn of Real Madrid last weekend, the Catalans no longer have their destiny in hand in La Liga. An additional motivation to seek this palliative that represents the King’s Cup. Ronald Koeman’s men will however have to remedy their main flaw this season: responding present in a game at stake. These matches of great importance, Barça missed them all: the two Clasico, the first leg match against Atletico in La Liga and the knockout stages of the Champions League against PSG.

In the league, Athletic Bilbao is neither in the title race nor in that of Europe unlike FC Barcelona which remains in the title match with Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid. The Catalans occupy the 3rd place with 65 points while the Madrilenians are in 2nd position (66 pts) to a unit of the Colchoneros (67 pts). Success in the Copa del Rey is not as glorious as a La Liga, but Lionel Messi and his teammates could benefit, if there is a victory, from a boost of energy and confidence for the final sprint where the slightest falsehood -not will be prohibited.

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