Next Wednesday, April 16, 2014 (12:30 PM Pacific), Barcelona and Real Madrid will measure forces at the emblematic Mestalla Stadium for the 111th final of the Copa del Rey, on a match that will decide who will succeed Atlético Madrid as the next trophy holders.
Real Madrid have a flawless record in this season’s competition so far. Los Blancos didn’t concede any goals on the four matches they played against Olimpic Xátiva, Osasuna, Espanyol and Atlético Madrid. Real Madrid have, in fact, imposed to the Colchoneros their only home defeat this season when they went head-to-head on the competition semi-finals.
After last week’s defeat against Borussia Dortmund at Westfalenstadion for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Quarter-finals, which didn’t prevent Los Blancos from going through in the competition tough, Carlo Ancelotti’s boys grabbed an important win for La Liga against a fragile Almeria side at Santiago Bernabéu. Los Blancos have completely dominated the match and they easily won by 4-0 even without Cristiano Ronaldo.
For next Wednesday’s clash against their all-time rivals of Barcelona, the Italian manager is not yet certain if he will be able to count on the Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who is still recovering from a knee injury, but he already knows that Marcelo, Jesé Rodriguez, Arbeloa, and Khedira will all miss the match due to injury.
As for their rivals Barcelona, next Wednesday’s match probably comes on at the worst possible time. The Blaugranas are experiencing a poor run of results with two consecutive defeats: first at Vicente Calderón against Atlético Madrid, which resulted on the team’s elimination from the UEFA Champions League, and last weekend at Andalusia against a Granada side threatened by relegation. The team’s recent performances have been severely criticized by the media and the supporters and not even the Argentinean football wizard Lionel Messi managed to escape the criticism.
Gerardo Martino will also have plenty of headaches when it comes to build up his team for next Wednesday’s clash. Victor Valdés and Piqué will surely miss the match due to long term injuries, while there are still plenty of doubts concerning the physical condition of the experienced Spanish defender Carles Puyol.
Last time both team met for Copa del Rey was last season, for the competition’s semi-finals, where José Mourinho’s Real Madrid managed to eliminate Barcelona after winning 3-1 at Camp Nou.
Next Wednesday, it will certainly be a very close match, similar to the one at Santiago Bernabéu last March, where Barcelona grabbed a fantastic 4-3 win dethroning Los Blancos from the top of Liga BBVA’s table. This being said, the most likely is 2-1 for Real Madrid.
Real Madrid (4-3-3) – Casillas – Carvajal – Pepe – Sergio Ramos – Coentrão – Modric – Xabi Alonso – Illarramendi – Di Maria – Bale – Benzema
Barcelona (4-3-3) – Pinto – Montoya – Bartra – Mascherano – Jordi Alba – Busquets – Xavi – Iniesta – Fàbregas – Neymar – Messi.
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Venue: Mestalla Stadium (Valencia)
Capacity: 53 000
TV Info: ESPN, ESPN Deportes, & ESPN 3.