FC Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao
Competition/Round: 2021 Supercopa de España, Final
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto (out), Lionel Messi (doubt)
Athletic Outs & Doubts: Unai López, Peru Nolaskoain (out)
Date/Time: Sunday, January 17, 2021, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Monday)
Venue: Estadio de La Cartuja, Seville, Spain
Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano
VAR: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
How to watch on TV: ESPN 2 (USA), Canal+ Sport 5 (Nigeria), #Vamos (Spain), others
Following a dramatic semifinal win on penalties against Real Sociedad, Barcelona return to action this Sunday for the first shot at a trophy this season against Athletic Bilbao in Seville for the 2021 Spanish Super Cup.
Barça took part in one of the best games of the season last Wednesday, and lots of entertainment should be expected in the Final as well. These two teams faced off just 10 days ago, with the Blaugrana winning 3-2 at San Mamés with one of their best performances of the season.
But in that game Athletic showed their ability to be dangerous, and their semifinal win against Real Madrid denied us a chance for El Clásico but further proved how good they can be under new manager Marcelino, who is already getting his team to be solid at the back and brutally efficient on the counter.
Athletic’s last title was the 2015 Super Cup against Barcelona, and Marcelino’s last title was the 2019 Copa del Rey, defeating Barcelona in the final as Valencia’s coach. All the warning signs are there: Barça must be at their absolute best to win this one, and Bilbao have a good chance to make this a real battle for 90 minutes — or 120.
The big storyline for this one is the fitness of Lionel Messi, who missed the semifinal with a minor muscle problem. The captain did take part in Saturday’s training session and is expected to be available, and it is really hard to picture Messi not playing in a final.
Whether or not this title matters is irrelevant right now. This is a Final, Barcelona are playing in it, so they have to win. And if they win and play really well, it’s another confidence boost for a team that’s starting to come together at the right time.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Messi, Griezmann
Athletic (4-4-2): Simón; Capa, Nuñez, Martínez, Yuri; De Marcos, D. García, Vencedor, Muniain; R. García, Williams
Let’s win this: 4-2 Barça.