On the road to potentially winning their 27th Copa del Rey title, the most in Spain, Barcelona will first have to get past Getafe in the Round of 16.
That seems like a forgone conclusion for a European powerhouse like Barcelona. After all, the Catalans have not yet lost at home, while Getafe have only managed to take nine points in nine away matches in La Liga play, scoring just seven goals in the process.
Still, nothing is a given, and Getafe won't simply roll over. Let's preview this Copa del Rey showdown.
When: Wednesday, January 8 at 4 p.m. ET (9 p.m. GMT)
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Watch: beIN Sport Play; Sky Sports 2 (U.K.); Sky Go (U.K.)
The world's best player, Lionel Messi, will at least be available to come off the bench in this contest, as Gerardo Martino has named Lionel Messi to his squad (via Dermot Corrigan of ESPN):
What has changed is that he has a few training sessions done now. Before the Elche game he had only two or three, and now he has trained some more days and has done a period of good work. All he needs to do now is take part in a competitive game.
This was the normal way to do things, and everything should hopefully continue as normal from now on.
Barcelona supporters will be thrilled. Getafe supporters, well, not so much. Of course, with a huge match against Atletico Madrid coming this weekend—and the top spot on the table hanging in the balance—Martino may choose to give Messi a few more days to reach fitness.
Getafe will be hoping that the Catalans overlook their Copa del Rey match in the process. You could hardly blame Barcelona—they are even with Atletico on points, topping the table only by goal differential. It's a huge match.
Still, there is a Copa del Rey match to be played. And Martino says his club will be focused on that (via Corrigan):
We can think about the game against Atletico Madrid on Thursday and Friday. You can believe me or not when I say this. People are talking more about Saturday’s game outside than inside. This squad does not think beyond a game as important as this is a Copa del Rey match where we cannot make mistakes.
Pedro Leon will be the key man for Getafe. The forward has been quite good this season, with five goals and four assists while earning a 6.98 average match rating at WhoScored.com. He's arguably been Getafe's most important player on the season.
Of course, Barcelona can counter with a number of weapons, including revelation Neymar, who has scored six goals, eight assists and been given a sparkling 7.84 average match rating by WhoScored in league play this year.
So much for any adjustment periods, huh?
The question isn't really if Barcelona will win, but by how much. Getafe aren't a bad team by any stretch, but Barcelona are simply on another level. Remember, when last these teams met at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez on December 22, the Catalans won, 5-2.
At home, they'll win even more decisively. Barcelona prevails, 4-0.
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