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Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona, Copa del Rey: Team News, Match Preview

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In the middle of a very public and ugly crisis, Barcelona face the toughest of away tests looking for a place in the Copa del Rey semifinal

Barcelona V Levante Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao vs FC Barcelona


Competition/Round: 2019-20 Copa del Rey, Quarterfinals

Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Luis Suárez, Ousmane Dembélé, Neto (out)

Athletic Outs & Doubts: Óscar De Marcos (out), Aritz Aduriz (doubt)

Date/Time: Thursday, February 6, 2020, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Friday)

Venue: San Mamés, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain

Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera

How to watch on TV: StarTimes World Football (Nigeria), Not Available (USA, UK, India), Cuatro (Spain), others

How to stream: ESPN+ (USA), DAZN (Spain), others


The world turned upside down at Barcelona. It started on Tuesday with news that Ousmane Dembélé has another serious injury and may not play for the club again; then we learned Lionel Messi is playing through an injury that’s clearly affecting his play and is not being treated properly simply because everybody is injured and Barça let two attackers go in the transfer window for some reason.

Then things went nuclear when Lionel Messi and Éric Abidal started a war of words, leading to an ugly, very public crisis between two of the club’s modern legends. Regardless of who’s wrong or right (spoiler alert: nobody’s right), this is a sad state of affairs and the man in charge of the whole thing seems to have no idea what to do next.

And with that beautiful background Barça have to play a Copa del Rey game away from home against Athletic Bilbao, who beat the Blaugrana in the opening match of the season in what was really the spark of what’s been a season to forget at the best club in the world.

The great thing about sports is that it offers you an escape from when life sucks. Problem is Barça suck more than life right now. Maybe not even a big win at Bilbao is enough to make things better, but I sure as hell don’t want this team to lose. There’s been enough losing this week.


POSSIBLE LINEUPS

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Firpo; Vidal, Busquets, De Jong; Messi, Griezmann, Ansu Fati

Athletic (4-2-3-1): Simón, Capa, Yeray, Martínez, Yuri; Dani García, Unai López; Williams, Raúl García, Muniain; Villalibre


PREDICTION

Maybe being angry at people is exactly what Messi needs to overcome the pain and poor form and lead us to a big away win: 3-0 Barça, GOAT-trick.

Yup, I’m optimistic. We really need that right now.