Barcelona will host Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday (30/5), and it may become the second treble moment in the club history. The upcoming clash is the third meeting between the two sides in the final match in the past seven years.
The two previous games Barca emerged victorious on their way, attained their first treble in 2009 and in Pep Guardiola’s final match as Barcelona coach in 2012. In 2009 Barca running out a 4-1 win and a 3-0 victor three years later,
Concerning the of second treble mission, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said, ” We are very proud to have won La Liga and now comes the Cup final, which although it seems like a minor trophy, matters just as much to us as the Champions League final.” More or less, the defender’s return to his best form over the past six months has been key to the club’s run of 29 wins in 33 games, left them on the brink of glory in all competitions they joined this season.
Barcelona conceded 21 goals in 38 matches of PrimeraLiga and have improved under the leadership of Luis Enrique this campaign. Barca booked its place in the final with a 6-2 aggregate win over Villarreal, while Athletic saw off Espanyol 3-1 over two legs. In contrast to Barca, Athletic are in their quest for their first major trophy in 21 years since doing the league and Cup double in 1983/1984. Athletic is actually the second most successful club in Copa del Rey, behind Barca’s 26 triumphs, although it is quite many years since its most recent success: a 1-0 win over the Catalan giant in 1984.
Barcelona midfielder stated his praise for his opponent, which choose players solely from the Basque region. “Athletic is an excellent team and will make it very complicated. They deserve all my gratitude for maintaining the philosophy beyond results.”
Ernesto Valverde’s men improved significantly after a disappointing first half of the campaign to be qualified for next season’s Europa League and go into the final on an unbeaten seven-match run. They come into the game in fine form, and they believe that run stands it in good stead.
For the final clash, Athletic will be without Oscar de Marcos through suspension, while Luis Suarez has missed the last two games of the league season with a hamstring injury, but has trained with the squad on Wednesday (27/5). AndoniIraola fill Marcos’ place as right-back starter on his farewell game after 12 years and nearly 500 appearances.