PREVIEW: FC Barcelona v Atlético Madrid

PREVIEW: FC Barcelona v Atlético Madrid

The players are in Saudi Arabia and face a stern test in the Spanish Super Cup semifinal

The Blaugrana have travelled to Saudi Arabia looking to extend their record of 13 Spanish Super Cup titles.

For the first time in its history the tournament features four teams, and Barça will have to get past Atlético Madrid in Thursday’s semifinal if they want a chance of lifting the trophy against Real Madrid in Sunday's final after their 3-1 semi final win over Valencia on Wednesday. 

How to follow the game live

The game kicks off at 8.00pm CET. A list of broadcasters can be found here and these are the timetables for the rest of the world:

Time Zone | Barça - Atlético, Supercopa

The Rival

Atlético Madrid get to play in this edition of the Spanish Super Cup as they finished runners-up in last season’s LaLiga. 

Currently, the Rojiblancos are third in the domestic competition with 35 points, five behind leaders Barça, and have only lost twice this season. They will be without Thomas Lemar and Diego Costa. 

Last time we met

Barça visited the Wanda Metropolitano on December 1 and came back from Madrid with three points thanks to a goal from Messi four minutes from time.

As for the Spanish Super Cup, the teams have faced each other in six editions (the first of these in the competition’s predecessor: the Eva Duarte Cup). Barça have beaten Atléti four times (1991, 1992, 1996 and 2013), while the Rojiblancos have beaten the Blaugrana twice (1951, in the Eva Duarte Cup, and 1985).

Interesting stats

Leo Messi has participated in the most editions (11) and has won the most titles (8).

Atlético Madrid are Messi’s second favourite victim. The Argentine has managed to score 30 goals against them in all competitions and they are behind Sevilla, against whom Messi has plundered 37.

Diego Simeone has only won two of his 26 official matches against Barça as coach of Atléti (two wins, nine draws and 15 losses).

Messi has 13 goals in the competition and is the all-time top scorer.

Ernesto Valverde is in second place as the coach who has overseen the most matches in the Spanish Super Cup (three with Barça, two with Athletic Club and two with Espanyol). Only Johan Cruyff beats him, with 12 games. In addition, Valverde has won two: in 2015 with Athletic Club and in 2018 with Barça. Should he triumph again in the final, he would equal Pep Guardiola and Cruyff, with three.

The Squad

To play the semifinal of the Spanish Super Cup against Atlético Madrid and a hypothetical final, Ernesto Valverde called up the following players: N. Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Todibo, Suárez, Messi, Neto, Lenglet, M. Wague, Griezmann, Jordi Alba, S. Roberto, F. De Jong, Vidal, Umtiti, Junior, Iñaki Peña, C. Pérez, Riqui Puig, Collado, Ansu Fati, R. Araujo and Arnau.

Ter Stegen, Arthur and O. Dembélé have been excluded because of injury.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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