There are just three days left before Barça and Sevilla face off for the Copa del Rey at the Vicente Calderón. It’ll be a battle between two teams that are already champions. Barça are arriving on the back of their second consecutive Liga title (and the sixth in eight seasons), while their opponents have just won yet another Europa League.
While Barça have dominated not only in the domestic championship but also in the Champions League in recent years (four of the last ten), Sevilla are the undisputed kings of the Europa League, with five wins this century including all of the last three since 2012. But Barça are also the reigning Copa del Rey champions, and it’s a trophy they have no intention of handing on a plate to anybody else.
Despite Wednesday’s night’s exertions in Basel, Sevilla will be taking a near full-strength squad to Madrid. Only Kolo (suspension) and Trémoulinas (injury) will be missing, although the fitness of centre back Rami is also being closely monitored after he took a knock in the 3-1 defeat of Liverpool.
The bigger danger in the Andalusian side is star striker Kevin Gameiro. The Frenchman has found the goal 28 times in all competitions this season. He is supported by two more top quality forwards in Vitolo and Konoplyanka, who have netted twelve times each this term. And all three of Sevilla’s frontmen have already scored against Barça this season.
Manager Unai Emery has a well-balanced set of players at his disposal, and can count on the experience of the likes of Banega, N’Zonzi and Reyes. They’ve been especially strong in defence, allowing just two goals en route to the final. This is a side that thrives on cup competitions, and that never crumbles under pressure when playing on the sport’s biggest stages.
This is the fourth meeting between Sevilla and Barça this season. The former won of those encounters and the latter won twice, but they’ve all been close matches.
Barça’s 5-4 win in the European Super Cup is a game that will not easily be forgotten, while both sides won 2-1 in their home Liga fixtures at the Sánchez Pizjuán and Camp Nou. In fact, it was that defeat in the Andalusian capital that preceded Barça’s spectacular run of 39 official matches without defeat.
And so now the season ends with the two teams in action once again. Whichever way it ends, somebody is going to be celebrating a historic double on Sunday night.