Having already wrapped up the La Liga title, the Copa del Rey would sign off their domestic season in some style ahead of the Champions League Final against Juventus. The match will be staged at the Nou Camp, much to Barca’s advantage, and is also expected to be the final match on home soil for midfielder Xavi which would make it an even more special occasion.
Despite having already qualified for the Europa League by finishing 7th, Bilbao will not be easy opposition to play against. Ernesto Valverde has a gritty side with more European experience than the last time these two met in the final in 2012.
Barca are hoping this game will set them up nicely for the key clash against Juventus a week later but it won’t be as easy as that…
Inaki Williams v Jordi Alba
Now this is a race we want to watch! Devastating with space in front of them, both Williams and Alba leave defenders in their wake when bombing forwards. Youngster Williams was on top form when Bilbao defeated Real Madrid at the San Mames earlier in the season, getting behind Dan Carvajal on a regular basis, though we expect Alba will have him pinned back on top of his own defence more often on Saturday. It will be a key test of character for Williams, who must remain disciplined and make the most of his infrequent forays forwards.
Aritz Aduriz v Gerard Pique
Aduriz only needs one chance in the air to score so Pique will have to be on his guard all game to prevent an unlikely result for Bilbao. Pique has been in impressive form this campaign, helping marshall his colleagues to earn the best defence in La Liga. However, Marc-Andre ter Stegen is expected to feature and Pique has not played too much with the German stopper this season, which will make Aduriz’s ear prick up slightly. An early goal and Barca should cruise to victory, but anything else and Aduriz remains a dangerous threat.
Messi, Suarez & Neymar v Aymeric Laporte & Xabier Etxeita
Everyone is aware of the threat MSN possess having scored over 100 goals this season with two more games to go! However, not everyone knows about the potential for 21-year-old Laporte, a man who has been publicly courted by Manchester United for well over 12 months now.
The Basque defender, alongside Etxieta, helped keep the 6th best defence in La Liga as Athletic made the top 7 after a European campaign. Saturday evening will be a major test of the quality of these two, especially the latter who has finally broken into the first XI after spells away with Elche and Cartagena. Etxieta remains raw and Laporte will need to be on hand to assist his fellow centre-back, though the likes of Spanish international Mike San Jose, Mikel Balenziaga and the experienced Andoni Iraola will chip in and help out. Whatever the outcome, teams across Europe will know more about Laporte following the game and maybe even decide to make him theirs.