Antoine Griezmann will return and Gerard Pique will be in contention to start when Barcelona face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey final.
Barcelona will be hoping to lift a record-extending 31st Copa Del Rey title when they lock horns with Athletic Bilbao in the final at Estadio de la Cartuja on Saturday night. And, Ronald Koeman does not have any fresh injury concerns to contend with ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
The likes of Neto (ankle), Philippe Coutinho (knee) and Ansu Fati (knee) remain unavailable due to their respective injuries, although Fati and Neto are a part of the Barcelona travelling squad, albeit in a non-playing capacity.
During his pre-match press conference, Koeman was quizzed about some of his young players who will be a part of the Copa Del Rey final. The Barcelona boss said, “Playing in finals, losing them as well, is how you get experience and maturity in such games.”
Koeman was also probed about his formation and whether he will change his formation, to which he replied (h/t Barca Universal), “The tactic is always the same whether we play with three or four defenders. The idea is always to control the ball and create as many chances as possible.”
The Barcelona manager, though, should stick to his recently favoured system, with the Catalans set to line up in a 3-4-3 formation against Bilbao. Marc-Andre ter Stegen is a guaranteed starter in goal for the Blaugrana, but the key selection decisions start in front of him.
Frenkie de Jong has excelled as a centre-back in the last few months, but was utilised in midfield last time out against Real Madrid. With Gerard Pique back and in contention to feature, Koeman does have a problem of plenty, having confirmed that the veteran is available. He said, “Pique is doing much better and has trained without having any problems. He can play tomorrow.”
Pique, though, is unlikely to start, with de Jong instead being deployed in the back three. This decision also means that Oscar Mingueza could drop out of the lineup, with Ronald Araujo and Clement Lenglet completing the three-man central defensive unit against Bilbao.
The choice pertaining to de Jong also means Sergio Busquets and Pedri will form the double pivot, with Jordi Alba and Sergino Dest being the two wing-backs. Finally, Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele become automatic picks in the Barcelona attack, with the trio playing in a fluid, interchangeable manner.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Araujo, de Jong, Lenglet; Dest, Busquets, Pedri, Alba; Griezmann, Messi, Dembele