Catalonia’s leading professional clubs, FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, go head-to-head in Tarragona on Tuesday night (9.30pm CET) in the Catalunya Super Cup. Barça will be defending their title in only the second edition of the event in its modern format. But in different guises, its history dates back more than one hundred years.
Before being founder members of the first Spanish Liga in 1929, FC Barcelona’s bread and butter was the Championship of Catalonia, a competition which they and Espanyol typically dominated. But now that they had bigger fish to fry, the Catalan title had already become a secondary concern when General Franco abolished it altogether in 1940.
Following the return to democracy, the Catalan title was revived as the Copa Generalitat in 1984, and then revamped in 1993 as the Copa Catalunya.
With eight wins, it should as no surprise to learn that Barça were the most successful team, with Espanyol not far behind with six.
However, finding a way to fit the competition into the demanding schedules of the two Liga giants was never easy. A number of different formats were tried, including the ‘big two’ getting an automatic bye into the semi-finals, but even so it was usually difficult for them to field full strength teams.
A solution was reached for the 2014/15 season, when it was decided that it should be the Barça and Espanyol ‘B’ teams that contest the regular Copa Catalunya, while their first teams compete for the new one-match Catalunya Super Cup. Barça won the first edition on penalties after a 1-1 draw and, after a hiatus last season, they’ll be defending their trophy on Tuesday night.