Three months after Athletic Bilbao beat Barcelona in the final of the Supercopa de Espana at La Cartuja, both sides are back in Seville. They’ll meet tonight in the final of the Copa del Rey, a game both sides will be entering with ambition and pressure, note Mundo Deportivo. Athletic lost the delayed 2020 final two weeks ago to Real Sociedad while Barcelona took a similar body-blow against Real Madrid in El Clasico last weekend.
Barcelona have won the Copa 30 times, six out of the last eleven, in fact. The pressure is on for Ronald Koeman and his men to deliver on the big stage, something they’ve failed to do in the Supercopa, the Champions League and El Clasico. Should Koeman stumble before a highly-motivated Athletic, led by the wily Marcelino, trouble could be afoot.
Marcelino will be keen to put right the wrongs of a fortnight ago, when his Athletic team put up a flaccid performance in a historic final against their greatest rivals. If they could pair a Copa with their Supercopa from earlier this season, the campaign would be a phenomenal success, as well as one that secures Europa League football. Los leones have lost three Copa finals to Barcelona in the past 15 years, in 2009, 2012 and 2015.