Athletic Club and Barcelona meet on Sunday in the final of the 2020-21 Spanish Super Cup. Fans are eagerly waiting for the game. Until last season the Super Cup pitted the reigning La Liga winner against the reigning Copa del Rey winner. This game features neither, as in year two of the new, four-team, format the top two teams from La Liga last season and the two Copa del Rey finalists make up a four-team tournament. Barcelona beat Real Sociedad in the semifinals on penalty kicks, while Athletic got by Real Madrid, 2-1.
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Barcelona: Will Lionel Messi play? After being taken off in the second half against Granada on Jan. 9, he didn’t play in the semifinal at all. He’s travelled with the team to Sevilla, but his status still remains up in the air. With him, they certainly have a fantastic shot at winning as he’s scored against them 26 times. Without him, the club will need somebody to be the creative engine in the attack. If Messi can’t play, Athletic will probably be the favourites to win.
Athletic Club: While Athletic enter as the underdog, they will be full of confidence. They outplayed Real Madrid in the semis, and their new manager knows something about beating Barca in a final. Marcelino Garcia Toral coached in the last Copa del Rey final in 2019, guiding Valencia to a 2-1 upset of Messi and company to win his first trophy. It was a game where his team focused on defending and looked to go on the counter, and you can expect something similar here. They will keep their shape, play with patience and look to spring forward when Barca lose the ball in attack.
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