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Messi during the 2009 Final / MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

[[DES_1]] Three years after their last Cup Final, the Cup Kings of Spain, with 49 titles between the two of them, meet again on Saturday to decide who takes the fiftieth. This will be the third final in six years between the two teams after Barça won in 2009 in Valencia and 2012 at the Vicente Calderón – the side’s final trophy under Pep Guardiola.

Saturday’s Athletic Club Bilbao are a much changed side from that 2009 Final meeting, with only keeper Gorka Iraizoz, defender Iraola, midfielder Susaeta and striker Toquero, who has become a less central figure, remaining from then, alongside Muniain, and De Marcos.from 2012.

Restructured squad

The Basques, who lost 2-0 at the Camp Nou and 2-5 in San Mames against Barça in the league this season,  have made suvbstantial changes all across the park – as well as replacing coach Marcelo Bielsa with ex-Barça man Ernesto Valverde – with the incorporation of Laporte, San José and Balenziaga proving key.

 

With Susaeta and De Marcos joined by Mikel Rico, Iturraspe and Unai López in the middle, alongside Ibai Gómez, Beñat and Gurpegi, who missed both the previous finals despite being in the squad, the goal scoring duties fall to Aduriz, who bagged 16 league goals this season and the injured Muniain.

Coach number three

Ernesto Valverde is the third coach of Athletic Club Bilbao to face Barça in the Cup Final since 2009, when Joaquin Caparrós was in charge, with Marcelo Bielsa leading them to the 2012 Final. Barça won both games under Pep Guardiola.

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