Time for another trilogy, and this time there is an element of revenge. Athletic Club Bilbao are the opponents in the league today, and they will be the opponents in the Copa del Rey. That means that after having played them 3 times already this season, Barcelona will play the Basques another three to make it a record six times in a single season. The Catalans got the better of them last time round, but it was hardly straightforward. Luis Suarez got the only goal in a 1-0 win for the Cules.
Before then, Athletic became the only team to deny Luis Enrique's men a trophy in 2015. Their 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona at the San Mames can be excused to a point due to heavy rotation and players not quite ready for the start of the season. But there's no denying Athletic were the better team by far, and while Barcelona got a 1-1 draw back at the Camp Nou and looked much better, they still were far from completing an improbable comeback.
This is all to say that Luis Enrique and company are extremely motivated to get some measure of revenge across all three remaining games, but also to say that it will be far from easy. Looking at the three games that already happened this season, Barcelona have squeaked a win at home, drawn another at home, and suffered a heavy defeat in their only away game. Thankfully for Barça, this match and one of the cup games will be held at the Camp Nou.
And Barcelona can afford not to win one (or maybe even both) games in the cup under the right conditions. But Athletic will use their heavy pressing game to make life difficult for the Blaugrana.
Thankfully for Barça, Athletic's inspirational striker Aritz Aduriz will be suspended for the match and in addition, versatile playmaker Raul Garcia is injured. But they have a ton of other great players in the squad like Aymeric Laporte, Beñat Etxebarria, and Oscar de Marcos.
We'll see if the sequel trilogy goes any better...