The Copa del Rey features a high-octane final this weekend as Barcelona lock horns with Athletic Bilbao in a crucial fixture at the Estadio de la Cartuja on Saturday. Barcelona have been impressive at times under Ronald Koeman and hold a slight upper hand going into this match.
Athletic Bilbao are in 11th place in the La Liga standings at the moment and have endured a slump after a strong start under newly-appointed manager Marcelino. The Basque giants were unable to score against local rivals Deportivo Alaves and will need to take it up a notch this weekend.
Barcelona have been fairly inconsistent this season and suffered a damaging 2-1 defeat against Real Madrid in El Clasico last weekend. The Catalans were shocked by Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup earlier this year and will want to avoid another mishap in the Copa del Rey.
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Head-to-Head
Barcelona have an excellent record against Athletic Bilbao and have won 37 games out of a total of 58 matches played between the two sides. Athletic Bilbao have managed only 13 victories against Barcelona and need to take it up a notch in this game.
The previous meeting between these two teams took place in La Liga earlier this year and ended in a narrow 2-1 victory for Barcelona. Antoine Griezmann scored the winning goal on the day and will want to have a similar impact on this match.
Athletic Bilbao form guide: D-D-L-D-D
Barcelona form guide: L-W-W-W-D
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Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Team News
Yeray Alvarez and Yuri Berchiche are carrying knocks at the moment and are unlikely to be risked in this fixture. Athletic Bilbao have a strong squad and are unlikely to make drastic changes to their team for this game.
Doubtful: Yeray Alvarez, Yuri Berchiche
Philippe Coutinho is struggling with a long-term injury and has been ruled out for the next few months. Ansu Fati has made progress with his recovery but is likely to spend a few more weeks on the sidelines. Barcelona have been successful with their 3-4-3 formation this year and are unlikely to change their tactical approach to this fixture.
Injured: Ansu Fati, Philippe Coutinho
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Predicted XI
Athletic Bilbao Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Unai Simon; Mikel Balenziaga, Inigo Martinez, Unai Nunez, Ander Capa; Dani Garca, Unai Vencedor; Iker Muniain, Alex Berenguer, Inaki Williams; Raul Garcia
Barcelona Predicted XI (3-4-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Frenkie de Jong, Clement Lenglet, Oscar Mingueza; Jordi Alba, Sergino Dest, Sergio Busquets, Pedri; Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembele
Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona Prediction
Barcelona have been impressive at times under Ronald Koeman in their transitional season and will want to add to their trophy cabinet this year. With the La Liga title race heating up, Barcelona will view this game as an excellent opportunity to win silverware and boost their morale.
Athletic Bilbao have not been at their best in recent weeks and will have to play out of their skins in this fixture. Barcelona have been the better team this year and hold the upper hand going into this match.
Prediction: Athletic Bilbao 1-3 Barcelona