- Copy link
FC Barcelona and Sevilla have both already had something to celebrate this week, and one of the two teams will be getting a double-whammy on Sunday night at 9.30pm CET. The Liga and Europa League champions are going head-to-head at the Vicente Calderón in the Copa del Rey Final. It’s the last official game of the season for both teams, who also started the campaign against each other in a nine-goal thriller in Georgia for the European Super Cup.
After both Claudio Bravo and Sandro Ramírez were declared fit this week, FC Barcelona have the rare luxury of having a completely full-strength squad.
All 24 of those players will be making the trip to Madrid: Ter Stegen, Bravo, Masip, Douglas, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Alves, Arda Turan, Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Rafinha, Mascherano, Bartra, Munir, Jordi Alba, Sandro, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Aleix Vidal, Vermaelen and Mathieu. Six of those will have to be eliminated from the definitive squad of 18.
Sevilla’s appeal against a red card shown to Timothée Kolodziejczak proved unsuccessful. With midfielder Steven N'Zonzi also suspended, and Michael Krohn-Dehli and Benoît Trémoulinas both out with knee injuries, the Andalusians will be desperately hoping that José Antonio Reyes and Adil Rami are able to overcome their own fitness troubles in time for Sunday night.
Speaking on Saturday, Luis Enrique commented that “Sevilla are specialists in finals and especially at coming from behind. So the match will be alive until the end, and we have to be prepared for anything … Sevilla played well against us in the games earlier this season. They beat us at their ground, perhaps with a little more luck than normal, but they always pose problem for us.”
Meanwhile his counterpart, Unai Emery, admitted that “we measured our players’ fitness today and the tests show that they’re a bit tired. We need to make sure all of our men are one hundred per cent, so we’ll assess things tomorrow … But the team will respond because their wired into this. We’ll be seeing the very best of the players that play tomorrow.”
Barça are looking to cap a season in which they have already won the European Super Cup, the Club World Cup and, most importantly, a second successive Liga title. Luis Enrique, Andrés Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic all agreed this week that regardless of the outcome on Sunday night, they can already feel more than satisfied with the way the football year has gone. Another trophy would make things even more wonderful than they already are.
Sevilla can also feel very pleased with themselves right now. On Wednesday, they came from behind to beat Liverpool 3-1 to win their third consecutive Europa League. The Andalusians finished seventh in La Liga, but the win in Basel means they will be playing Champions League football again next season.
Barça are looking to extend a remarkable record of 27 wins in the Spanish Cup, while Sevilla have five wins of their own. Between them, these two clubs have won five of the last eight editions of the Copa del Rey, yet this is surprisingly the first time they have ever met in the final. A word of warning, Sevilla are cup final specialists. In the last decade they have played in five Europa League and two Copa del Rey Finals and have won them all.
This is the fourth meeting between the sides this season. Barça won 5-4 in extra time in a scintillating European Super Cup match in Tbilisi, while the two Liga meetings both ended in 2-1 victories for the home side.
- Copy link