PREVIEW | Athletic Club v FC Barcelona

PREVIEW | Athletic Club v FC Barcelona

Barça visit San Mamés on Thursday evening for their Copa del Rey quarterfinal clash (kick-off 9.00pm CET)

After eliminating Ibiza (1-2) and Leganés (5-0), Quique Setién's team have a major challenge ahead in order to reach the Copa del Rey semifinals: eliminate Athletic Club at San Mamés (Thursday, February 6, 9.00pm CET). 

The rival

Los Leones reached this stage after beating Intercity (0-3), Sestao River (0-4), Elche on penalties (1-1; 4-5) and Tenerife, also in a penalty shootout, (3-3; 2-4).

Gaizka Garitano's team are in ninth place in LaLiga, with 31 points, and lost to Getafe (0-2) in their last league game.

At home, Athletic are almost perfect, having only lost one game: match day seven against Valencia (0-1). Only Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid have conceded fewer goals, whilst their top scorers are Raúl García, with six goals, and Iñaki Williams and Iker Muniain, with four.

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The most recent precedent

The last game played against Athletic Club came on the first day of the season. Aritz Aduriz earned his side all three points with a spectacular bicycle kick late in the game. 

In the Copa del Rey, Barça (30 times) and Athletic (24), are the two teams that have won the competition the most. They've faced each other in the cup final eight times, with Barça winning six and losing two.

Interesting stats and facts

Leo Messi loves to score against Athletic Club. With 24 against the Basque team, they are fifth on his all-time hit list, behind Sevilla, Atlético Madrid, Valencia and Real Madrid.

The Argentinian has played against Los Leones eight times in the Copa del Rey and has scored in six of those matches.

Quique Setién will face Athletic Club for the ninth time as a coach, the first with Barça. In the previous eight encounters, he has won one, drawn three and lost four.

The Squad

Quique Setién has named the following squad: Ter Stegen, N. Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Arthur, Messi, Lenglet, Griezmann, Jordi Alba, S. Roberto, F. De Jong, Vidal, Umtiti, Junior, Iñaki Peña, Riqui Puig, Collado, Ansu Fati and R. Araujo. Missing due to injury are Luis Suárez, Dembélé and Neto.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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